Between The Two
A glance at the song titles might give you a clue about what to expect from this album from The O's: “Tryin' To Have A Good Time”, “We Are Young”, “Sunshine” and “Everything's Alright”. For this is sunny, bright, good-time music that suggests their live shows could be a lot of fun. Musically, think The Avett Brothers with (a lot) more banjo and harmonica.
This is the second album from the Dallas duo, following up 2009's “We Are The O's”. John Pedigo is the banjo player, and Taylor Young plays acoustic guitar, but between the two of them they add harmonica, lowebro lap steel, kick drum, xylophone and tambourine. They take turns on lead vocals. While Young is an adequate singer, Pedigo, with a lighter and more varied intonation, has the more appealing voice.
The first track tells the story of the album. “We'll Go Walkin” starts off with harmonica and banjo, and is a cheery song with a singalong chorus. Elsewhere, the big booming kick drum dominates “In Numbers We Survive”, while “Everything's Alright” has some of the liveliest singing, accompanied by some appropriately frenetic banjo. It's on this song, as well as on others such as “We Are Young” and “Everything's Alright”, that The Avett Brothers influence comes through loud and clear.
On “Tryin' To Have A Good Time”, they try Young singing the verses with Pedigo coming in on the choruses, which works well. Wrapped up with some very nice lap steel, it's a song which might be said to sum up the band's philosophy.
If there's a criticism of the album, it's that musically the band are working within a fairly limited musical palette. In spite of the range of instruments at their disposal, the banjo is ubiquitous, and more variety in the arrangements would be welcome in future. But undoubtedly The O's do what they do very well, and the value of an album of unpretentious fun shouldn't be underestimated. They tour the UK in June, and should offer a lively night's entertainment.
Click here for the O's gig dates.