#1 was such a fantastic, yet ultimately superficial, electro-pop album. Brimming with hits and infectious dance beats, it certainly helped to solidify the iconic duo of Warren Fischer and Casey Spooner as the leaders of this new-found "electroclash" genre. I've never understood what exactly was "clashing," but that is a moot point."
Built up by scenesters, musicians, Capitol Records and, to no surprise, themselves, Odyssey has proven to me that not only can electronic-based music have substance; it can knock you flat on your auditory ass.
I suppose I should qualify that statement. Being a musician, I prefer more natural and organic sounds when it comes to music. It's not that I think an electronic keyboard, synthesizer, or programmer can't create beautiful music; I just have an unfair bias against music that is primarily based out of some sort of computer.
Imagine my surprise when I heard a live bass, a live guitar, and live drum tracking on this album. After one play of this album, I swear, I fell in love instantly. This is a superb record from a superb pair of musicians and has changed my whole perspective on electro-music as I knew it!
Details, details, I know. I could spend the rest of this review speaking in flowery rhetoric, but I just don't do that! Odyssey opens with, "Just Let Go," a bouncy and infectious song that loops guitar, muted synths, and a catchy bassline throughout Spooner's mellow crooning. A strong single, certainly not as strong as "Emerge" though, and a great welcoming to the Fischerspooner and how they've grown as a musical group.
The album then swings through "Cloud," which has some amazing vocal melodies from Spooner. It also contains that signature combination of male/female vocals that were showcased throughout #1. Familiar territory, for sure, but when Spooner's voice jumps up a few octaves from his normal range, that's when I just have to smile.
The album's two paramount accomplishments and easily the best songs the Fischer/Spooner combo have written are the Pink-Floyd-The-Wall-ish "Never Win" and the subtle drive behind the dreamy, "Ritz 107." The Pink Floyd comparison comes from the fact that the main chorus reminds me so much of the chorus of the quintessential Pink Floyd classic. The song is a funk-laced, electro-pop adventure in self-deprecation. "Never Win", the second single, is so upbeat and gloriously catchy. "Ritz 107," on the other hand, is very much the exact opposite of this song. The song opens with some gentle keys/synths very much reminiscent of The Postal Service, with Spooner's smooth and near-monotone voice telling us about his current dream state. What's so remarkable about this song is how the song feels like it's lulling you to sleep. This is not a bad thing! The final break in the song is enchanting and my favorite part in the whole arrangement.
There are lower points on this album; I don't really like "Wednesday" or the album closer, "All We Are." Regardless, there are so many stand-out tracks on this album that I forget about its downfalls. The album has a better, more listener-friendly arrangement; the music is solid and always necessary; the vocal melodies are pop genius. This is one of my favorite releases of the year and certainly one of the more meaningful ones. Pick it up!
9.5 / 10
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