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OHO: Gazebo

OHO are younger than me… but not by much. So how come I’ve never heard of ‘em? Well maybe that Gazebo is the Baltimore outfit’s fourth album in 45 years goes a long way to explaining their somewhat underground nature. Sound wise they are anything but obscure, a shifting guest list of brass players and others augmenting what is in essence a bright, breezy pop sound that’s draped in something a little more intricate.

The original trio with the surname initials O H O, may now be long gone - although Mark O’Connor does feature fleetingly as a guest - but there’s still a vintage feel to Gazebo, a record that naturally moves from pop to Americana and jazz to prog while still staying resolutely accessible. Long time singer Jay Graboski reminds, to these uninitiated ears, of Paul Heaton from The Beautiful South, in that he delivers smooth, easy but honest vocals that open a door into the music on display. That could be the dreamy “The One”, which feels like Bruce Hornsby jamming with Paul Simon, or the popping melancholy of “Ring In The Rightness” which sits proudly atop boldly strummed guitars and an 80s like chorus.

Across the 18 tracks revealed, the keyboards and accordion of Ray Jozwiak helps build and maintain strong foundations, while the guitar from Graboski and drums (and much else) from David Reeve keeps things flowing from start to finish. In truth I could have done without the likes of the middle of the road meander of “Plunge” or the Neil Young with parping keys of “Bleeding The Fifth”, but then when you record so few albums across so many years, you are always going to have a plethora of tracks you want to get out there. Arguably, things could have been better in a more concise collection, as staying the course over a set of songs this lengthy can find things feeling a little over-similar.

However, that’s not to say that there aren’t plenty highlights here, with the sharp turn of “Baltimore” and the jangle pop of “Out Of Thin Air” rewarding and revealing. I can see me revisiting Gazebo - an album for sitting in the sun and relaxing with, as much as it is for taking in the interesting lyrical content - although I might not do that from start to finish every time. But that, to be fair, isn’t an affliction particular to OHO


Track Listing
1. Ring in the Rightness
2. Denial
3. The One
4. How Is Where We Go

5. Third Hand Intelligence 

6. Plunge

7. Baltimore

8. Blood Brother

9. Paleolithic Goddess Figurine

10. Slough of Despond

11. New Day

12. Bleeding the Fifth

13. Unique

14. Limousine

15. Out of Thin Air 

16. Ocean City Ditty

17. Over, Under, Sideways, Down / It's a Small World

18. Taylor's Lullaby

Added: March 10th 2019
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Gazebo @ CD Baby
Hits: 539
Language: english

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