Odiorne – Heavy Wish

Heavy Wish

When Mercury Rev released All is Dream, it was a crushing blow. Not that the album is by any means bad. It’s actually rather gorgeous, and the release of “Hercules” is indeed mighty. However, that album solidified vaporous hints that gone were the days of buzz-saw guitars that allow hallucinogenic to pour forth from the speakers like so much jalapeno marmalade. Instead, Mercury Rev evolved into lush psychedelic rock that has been more than a little influenced by the latest offerings from the Flaming Lips. The Rev’s latest album, The Secret Migration, went mostly unheard last year. Perhaps it was the goofy fairy-inspired cover art, or maybe people simply had no patience for lush ballads that would not sound out of place backing some epic Japanese anime. Either way, the album never garnered the praise it probably deserves.

The shift in Mercury Rev’s sound makes this debut album from Odiorne even more difficult to work out. Beginning as a side project of Jimy Chambers, himself an original member of Mercury Rev, the band now comes into its own as a dreamy symphony. “Sirocco (Heavy Wish)” starts things off with some heavy references to the jazzy loose feel of Mercury Rev’s Deserter’s Songs. The song builds to the refrain of “lose control and fall / then climb it again” and the song spins up into an explosion of horns and clean guitars and strings. This clean, full sound runs rampant through the album and is a nice contrast to the normal distortion and extended harshness that abounds in a lot of the other “psychedelic” stuff to be found.

Elsewhere, “Webs Without Maps” starts off with clean acoustics and some white noise. The brass theme slowly expands to a guitar solo bounced off a satellite, and the stars rejoiced. “Marblehead” leads in with a synthesizer buzz before it gives way to a sprightly piano and a drumbeat that could be distant cousin to Joy Division’s “Isolation” (and the underlying bass line helps a great deal). “Kino” starts off threatening to be a horribly cliched ballad lifted from the 80s, but it quickly descends into an underwater moog exploration with only the original piano theme to guide one through the depths.

“Sirocco (Artery)” is a reinvention of the opening track, containing a heavy reference to the original melody. Both are infinitely hummable, but this one removes the horns from the equation. Things stay mostly subdued, as Chambers allows the keyboards to guide the song. Clean guitar work provides some nice flourishes, but since this is an artery and not a heavy wish, I suppose it does not deserve to be as expansive. If one takes sirocco’s to be a humid wind originating in the Sahara Desert, then “Sirocco (Heavy Wish)” is the unbelievably bright and blaring things that could be. “Sirocco (Artery)” might be an internal wind, driving and endless. Honestly, I’m not sure what the sirocco connection to the songs might be and am probably incredibly off on my speculation. This is why I urge you to seek out the album and come to your own conclusions.

Odiorne definitely holds its own when placed up against Mercury Rev. Though these folks don’t drift into the mind-expanding territory as the early Rev albums such as Yr Self is Steam, the tracks contained on Heavy Wish are just as engaging and at times even more exciting that much of Mercury Rev’s later work. Side projects are often an iffy, hardcore fans-only venture (yeah, how about those Revenge albums). Odiorne is determined to prove that stigma invariably wrong.