Of all the words one might use to describe Odanah’s Blood and Sour Mash, “condensed” shouldn’t be one of them. Despite clocking in at just over 20 minutes, the five-song EP is a diverse collection of folk and rock tunes leaning ever so slightly toward the American roots musical tradition.
Propelled by the melodic lead guitars and contrasting vocals of Mike Fox and Brady Allard, leadoff track “Waiting Around” sees the group at its most atmospheric. What begins as patient fingerpicking gradually swells beyond the folk aesthetic, suddenly bursting to life with electric riffs and the agile drumming of Cody Iwasiuk. Elsewhere, “Little Box in the Sky” evokes prairie sentimentality with folksy bluegrass strumming as Fox croons “Some just pass the time, others pass the wine.” On “Colleen,” Allard weaves a beautiful love story about an erstwhile muse: “Twenty years well it’s just me now/These godless skies that sparkle in your eyes/They keep me now/They keep me now.” The track ends on a furious one minute guitar breakdown to solidify an exciting climax.
There’s a discreetness, too, about Odanah’s songwriting that is unpretentious and reflective. This is a group with the musical chops to translate complex emotions into stirring words and sounds. Keep an ear on this one. (Independent, odanah.bandcamp.com) Harrison Samphir