Once A Day

Nick West's reviews for Bucketfull Of Brains and Rock'N'Reel

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Location: London, United Kingdom

Co-editor and publisher of Bucketfull Of Brains since 1996.

Friday, December 05, 2008


BOY OMEGA

Hope On The Horizon

(STEREO TEST KIT)
www.stereotestkit.com

Martin Henrik Gustafsson is Boy Omega, or at least he was. Previously more of a solo operation, with a marked preference for electronica, these dozen songs are far more a collaborative effort and notably warm and manifestly human. Tender and fragile pieces with a marked affinity to the Conor Oberst/Sufjan Stevens school, they continually burst forth with swathes of measured yet powerful orchestration. A plethora of players and instruments are involved in this record which took two years to complete. Brass, strings, as well as melodica, mellotron, and music box feature.

There’s a thematic movement across the album, as many of the songs are concerned with loss and the resultant dysfunction, though interestingly there’s often a dichotomy between the upbeat nature of the settings and arrangements and the downer nature of the subject matter. It’s particularly noticeable in the opening of ‘The Blues And The Bee Sting’ and throughout ‘Suffocation Street’. Finally, in ‘The Good Times’, comes a curious turnaround as, like the cavalry in the last reel, the ‘hope on the horizon’ hoves into view. A surprising flurry of optimism that helps explains a lot.

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