Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Opie-It’s a Wonderful Life

July 1, 2005

opieBand: Opie

Album: It’s a Wonderful Life

Best Element: They mellow out nicely.

Genre: Rock

Website: www.opiemusic.com
Label: N/a

Band E-mail: wlathrop@opiemusic.com

The hardest thing about Opie is that while they’ve whittled down rock songwriting to it’s very roots (an admirable trait), they may have gone too far, eradicating some of their potential for excellence (a not-so-good trait). Their EP It’s a Wonderful Life is a rather frustrating listen of tuneful-but-quickly-unmemorable rock songs and inspired, poignant mellower songs.

It’s certainly not the vocals that drag this down- in this EP of inconsistency, the vocals are a bulls-eye on every track. From the casual harmonies on “Death of Adventure” to the earnest pleas of “Eli” to the plaintive near-mumble of the stand-out “Heater”, the vocals never disappoint. One of the greatest treats about this album is the poignant female guest vocals, which accompany on “Heater” and “Fly on the Wall”.

No, it’s not Opie’s vocals that are the culprit here. The majority of the problem comes in tracks like “Eli” and “Good Drugs Fix Bad Kids”, which are full of too much space between instruments. It just sounds like they forgot to finish writing the songs.

Their two mellower offerings are stellar, though- while the introspective “Fly on the Wall” is honest, emotive and beautiful, the stand-out track “Heater” goes from soft to loud (the loudest Opie gets, actually) and then back to soft in its nearly 7-minute duration. The guitars in both are simply fantastic- while not technically difficult, they connect with the listener instantly, unlike “Eli” or “Who Cares?”.

This EP is fun to listen to once in a while. The gleeful rock that Opie usually stands for is awesome once or twice. You may even put the rollicking “Death of Adventure” on a mix CD or two. But after a while, all the rock becomes monotonous instead of familiar, and that’s 2/3rds of this EP.

-Stephen Carradini

Independentclauses@hotmail.com

Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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