The Olympia formed quartet, Oh, Rose, sound superior on their lingering new record, While My Father Sleeps. Informed (in parts) by the loss of singer and guitarist Olivia Rose’s mother, Oh, Rose play a freshly familiar brand of aged indie rock; brooding in style, flush with dark echoes of morality and 90’s escapisms.
On opener, “25, Alive”, Rose’s lyrical aspirations are folded from a dreamy molasses into punkish exuberance. Follow up song, “Believe It” twitches as drummer Liam Hindahl’s cymbal clinks feel like raindrops and Sarah Redden’s synthesizers spill a morning sunrise. Hindahl’s and bassist Kevin Christopher’s motorik grooves are sticky enough to paste Rose’s hushed anthem against a watercolor sky. “Easy” speeds fast, melodically blurring the roads signs and off ramps like great Camera Obscura singles use to. The variety remains on the charmingly hip “You’ve Got Fire”. Rose evokes Chan Marshall’s Cat Power (circa 1998) as the band plays an equally spite fueled Jagger-meets-Nirvana strut. “Baby” showcases Rose using her voice like a conduit for something else. Christopher’s bass notes are most pronounced, giving Rose’s vocal spectrum ample rope to ascend. Around the two-minute mark, the band trades a limp handshake for a fiery kiss as they pedal bikes into sonic blasting jet packs.
Side B begins in a lulling sway, courtesy of the wizardry plumes on “Harrypotterjuana”. As it jolts from tempo, hands still pocket bound, Rose’s muddied vocals sound sweatered into Redden’s elegant knitted synths. Next, anxious bass notes steer “Politics” along sliced snare and thundering floor tom build-ups, sending the song into chemical orbit; colors emitting above a city’s high-rise. The stretched and still “Water” does more with less angst slams and spiny guitar parts. Rose’s voice breaks through into a vulnerable falsetto as Hindahl keeps within reach by playing shallow taps on a muted snare. The space and non-playing eventually overtake “Water” into a diminished end. The album closes with “Be Kind To Me” and flirts with more reverb and stirring cymbals. Rose continues to spiral into a cathartic dive, nearly landing head on, stamping While My Father Sleeps as a continuously aching, forward inching spell.
Oh, Rose is as sonically flexible as any indie-spawned youth brigade. Just like the cover photo, where all eyes seem connected on the same point, Oh, Rose seem transfixed from opening track to last chord, brandishing their flag steadily, before thrusting it into the ground.
They are here to stay.