MONDAY, JANUARY 18, 2010 |
The Danes love their mountain climbing orchestral pop, just take a look at the Efterklangs and Slaraffenlands of the world. Oh No Ono comes from the same soil, and the same mindset it would appear, as their lavish songs reach for the skies on multiple occasions on Eggs. However, while their contemporaries are stuck in the boring confines of lackadaisical drudgery (running more like a medieval mass than an album made in the 21st century), Oh No Ono abandons the niceties and bites harder and faster. The songs beneath the strings are like the elongated epics of the rock opera era, a Danish Jethro Tull with vocal effects and less flute. They are like a new decade of Danish rock unto themselves.
Eggs starts off like an acid washed symphony, gripping and trippy. "Eleanor Speaks" travels several textures, from Muse-ish movement to Electric Light Orchestra riffs. It only gets more confusing; tracks melt into one another as the motifs carry over from title to title, morphing and molding themselves into a larger idea. Dissected consumption won't leave anyone satisfied on Eggs, listening in sections as opposed to the whole thing is like the difference between sticking your face in a Van Gogh or taking twenty steps back.
But as a whole, the sometimes full-orchestral, sometimes Toto-pop of Eggs holds together miraculously well. There is no doubt the band takes cues from late 60's hippie rock, but it seems colored by the 80s in a way previously impossible. "Icicles" is a good example of the more pop-ish side of Ono, sounding like an Oingo Boingo opus with hints of the Beatles drug-infused hallucinations, and a la carte could be taken at face value. I love the way the tempo moves from feverish to determined, these guys really know how to put together a complex range of emotions in their music.
The rest of the record only picks up steam, coloring their excellently written songs with minor instrumental freak-outs and computerized vocal harmonies. By the time the fast forwarded opener to "Beelitz" arrives to completely shatter our brains, it is clean that Eggs has been more about the unexpected than the intentional. Ono tries hard and succeeds in tweaking perceptions ever so slightly. Our ears can't predict the future, especially when you give a bunch of Danish guys an orchestra and some Pro-tools plugins. But at the end of the day, wouldn't you rather be surprised? - joe puglisi