Last Gang - 2011
Ohbijou's allmusic.com entry reads like a yawn - "Canadian indie-poppers with a folksy style bolstered by a group of talented multi-instrumentalists" could describe so many bands that there should be one page they all just re-direct to. That said, Ohbijou bring just enough weird to make Metal Meets a charming album to listen to and one that will likely get more plays than press.
Casey Mecijia, Ohbijou's lead singer and founder, has a voice that is just distinctive enough to separate her from the long line of Canadian female vocalists from Julie Doiron to Feist, and her brilliance really drives the whole band. She and her sister Jennifer, as well as Heather Kirby, James Bunton, Anissa Hart, and Ryan Carley create some extremely shimmering, pretty little songs.
They use a wide variety of instruments - from glockenspiel and ukulele to harpsichord and harmochord - to craft some creative sonic landscapes that get stuck in your head and keep you coming back for more. Their sound is a lot like Doiron's former band, Eric's Trip, but with a more polished, folksy feel. The album is at once familiar and yet forgettable - you won't remember hearing it but somehow you know all the words the next time it plays.
Metal Meets starts off in a dream with 'Niagara' and 'Echo Boy', but when 'Balikbayan' arrives, Ohbijou start to show their true colours. This is a band that split an EP with the Acorn after all; they can't help but let themselves get demurely unhinged. This shows through even more on their later tracks like the brilliant 'Turquoise Lake' and the natural single 'Scalpel Blade'.
With their third record, Ohbijou is moving on from their "arrival" album Beacons and finding out that there are still plenty of places for them to go. While 'St. Francis' off their first LP Swift Feet for Troubling Times may still be their best song and calling card, they are quietly fleshing out one of the most refreshing catalogues around.
Ohbijou seem to have graduated from their old Friends in Bellwoods compilation days in the deep Canadian indie-rock underground to join fellow Bellwooders gone pro like the Rural Alberta Advantage, Timber Timbre, Basia Bulat, and the aforementioned Acorn. This is great news for both the band and anyone who appreciates music that is both beautiful and boundary pushing.
Swift Feet for Troubling Times
Trouble in the Camera Club
Making the Scene: Yorkville and Hip Toronto in the 1960s
University of Toronto Press