The Olive Group – Blue EP

Post-Parlo says The Olive Group incorporates elements of The Sea and Cake and Dressy Bessy, but I think that sells the band short. Rather than encorporating jazzy elements and cute pop elements, The Olive Group is a band that incorporates a little of everything, including the light indie rock of bands like Silver Scooter and Tiara, the more melodic emo sounds of bands like Mineral, and the light-hearted pop with a retro feel like the best moments of Apples in Stereo.

That sounds like a lot of ground to cover, and, amazingly, The Olive Group do, blending them all in to something that’s very unique and unbelievably pure and smooth. The vocals are wonderful indie boy vocals, not whiny or straining, and the musicians here are stellar, with lovely mellow and melodic guitars, great bass lines, and excellent percussion. How to describe it other than melodic indie pop with a good dose of rock? I don’t know, but it’s more than that.

“Blue” starts things off very mellow and bassey, with subtle pop underlays that remind me of a more more 60’s feel. But the whole song has a very modern feel, made smooth and lovely because of perfect vocals. “Cat and Mouse” is probably my favorite track, the vocals reminding me of Silver Scooter while the music has this great pop rhythm and a lovely little groove, all with percussion that is, at times, quite loud and fast. How does that all mix together? It does, and it does perfectly. “The Night Is So Heavy” is much slower and quieter. It’s the several guitar parts, some acoustic, some melodic electric guitars, not really layered but intermingling that make this song so special. “Seem to Say” has a light, decidedly 60’s style pop feel to it, especially by the end when the hand-claps kick in, but the vocals and echoed guitar keep it firmly rooted in today’s sound. But “The Air and the Wet” does it even better, an 8-plus minute song that, like its name, is very airy, with washes of cymbals, light, melodic guitar, and perfect vocals. It goes into a longer, instrumental interlude with a newscast or taped conversation in the background that is really neat. This one definitely has a bit of a Karate or Sea and Cake feel, and it flows right into “Pictures,” one of the most indie rock songs here, taking a page from Guided By Voices and similar bands and picking up the rock.

With every listen of The Olive Group’s debut EP, I find something else, a subtle guitar line here, a little bass groove there, another perfect vocal part, and I like this EP a little more. These songs are infectious and wonderful indie pop gems, needing to be heard to be believed. My only complaint is that the band couldn’t add about five more perfect songs and fill out a full-length. But I’ll be ready for that full-length and stand proudly while everyone else touts them as the next big thing, because it started here.