It's been almost a month since I received the Open House Arts Collective compilation cd in the mail - a lovely little surprise from everybody's favourite music blogger, Sean. Sean was understandably excited about this release, and as a passionate supporter of his local music scene, could not wait to spread the word about this local effort.
My only excuse for not reviewing this cd sooner is that my impressions of it keep evolving. I finally figure out just what it is that draws me into this collection of twelve songs from a diverse but united group of musicians from London, ON, and then I have another listen and yet another layer peels away, and I realise I have only scratched the surface. The dozen songs on offer are a compilation of rich musical texture, layer upon lucious layer of sound in which you hear something fresh with each listen.
The Open House Arts Collective seems more like a family than a loose collective of musicians who have banded together to support each other. For one thing, they all seem to either play in each others' bands, tour together, or produce each others' music, and you can sense the camaraderie and mutual respect among the artists. And Open House does also function as a recording company for its members. Yet, despite the free mingling of musicianship, at no point does the mix get stirred too much that the sound becomes generic. Instead, each song on this cd retains a beautifully unique and eclectic sound.
The OH! Compilation cd does have somewhat of a distinctive Canadian sound to it. Don't ask me to define that precisely because I don't think that anybody really can, but suffice it to say that at times I hear snippets that put me in mind of Great Lake Swimmers, or John K Samson, or Laura Barrett. But then I think I catch a glimpse of Louis Prima amongst that, and all assumptions are out the window.
That's not to say that there is anything remotely derivative about any of these songs. Quite the contrary. Each track is solidly unique, impeccably produced, and while the musicians may arrive at their sound through a variety of influences, each artist contributing to this cd owns their music, utterly and without apology.
The musicians contributing to the OH! Compilation cd are:
The Lava Lamps Band
A Horse and His Boy
The State Bird of Idaho
For Love or Money
The Late Miss Mary Kingsley
The Whipping Wind
Handsome Dan and His Gallimaufry
The Samuel Musical
Olenka & the Autumn Lovers
Keep an eye and an ear out for these names. I suspect you'll be hearing a lot more from them in the future.