French Camp’s Sophomore Album, Odd Particle: A Review

Album Reviews, Artists, Features, Music — By on May 19, 2013 7:50 pm

Made by Music Lovers for Music Lovers

french camp odd particleAs innovative and fun as their first self-titled outing may have been, the structure of Odd Particle—the cohesive balance between driving rock and ethereal vocals—is something to be envied. The influence of Radiohead, especially early albums, is pervasive but not overwhelming. The band has a style all its own, defined by lead singer Owen’s distinctive voice, perfect in its imperfections.

One of my favorite things about French Camp is its conviction that varying tempos don’t negate the “rock” in rock music. The opening of Way to Your Heart is simple but dramatic, giving way to a laid-back rock vibe. They follow with the hushed Midway. This band has a better grasp on dynamics than most other rock outfits, with an understanding that soft doesn’t need to equal weak. Owen maintains such control over matchless vocals, first full and focused and filled with passion, and then low, plaintive, chill inducing, and just as piercing.

With its 60s beach guitar opening, versatile vocals, and uber-catchy chorus, Blown Away is the perfect summer anthem. A departure from the other tunes on the album, this one invokes a bit of Roy Orbison to great advantage. Rather than stick out like a sore thumb, it instead cements the album as solid, thoughtful, and above all, fun.

Led by a driving cadence, I Heart the South—something of a love letter to their place of origin, I’d guess—is another standout. With lush harmony over lyrics evoking images of sunsoaked mountains and beaches, it’s easy to miss the details, so listen more than once. More than a hundred times, really.

Luna Moth brings another small departure from the overall atmosphere of the record. In places, the twisting harmonies reminded me of later Beatles tunes, and these were set over tender guitar and piano for a bit of a transcendent experience. I would suggest listening with the volume high to feel the notes wrap around you, or you may not receive the full experience.

My personal favorite is the driving Day of the Dead, and I’m not usually a morbid person. This song is the perfect storm of spooky lyrics, lilting vocals, haunting harmonies, and that little bit of voodoo charm that just can’t be named. Compulsively listenable, this song will remain on my favorites lists for pretty much forever.

I highly recommend this album to music lovers and wordsmiths of all types. If you’re not sure, check out the sampling on Bandcamp before you buy. Be sure to follow the band on Twitter and “like” the Facebook page, too.

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1 Comment

  1. rota says:

    Driving rock and ethereal vocals are great mix coctail of energy and power. It makes me happy and modern!

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