For an album about “death, our planet, and the afterlife,” Scott Orr’s Oh Man is a serene album that sounds heavenly.
On Bandcamp, Scott Orr writes that his new album Oh Man is about “death, our planet, and the afterlife.” Inherently, these subjects bring with them a heaviness that sits on the record like anxiety sits on your chest. A lover is out of reach on “73,” “2020” has its own baggage just because of its title and within Orr describes a loneliness, a feeling he returns to a number of times on the record, that defined that year. “Holy smokes,” sings Orr on the chilling “Disappear.“ “I’m all alone.”
It would be fitting if the instrumentation accompanying these lyrical themes matched the dread they evoke, but Oh Man sounds heavenly. Orr’s voice is hushed and calming. Together with Allison Gelenyse (vocals), Gareth Inkster (piano), Anh Phung (flute), Murray Heaton (saxophone), Anna Horvath (vocals), Kelly Bennett (violin), Adylson Martins (clarinet), and Jason Bhattacharya (percussion), he builds a sonic ark that we can climb aboard to escape despair. These are light and jazzy electro-folk songs that shine because of how serene they are. “Wanna Bud?” is rooted in a breezy groove that glistens with Phung’s flute, and the all-instrumental “Luna” begins with singing birds that are eventually joined by the warbles of Bennett’s violin, Heaton’s saxophone, and Inkster’s piano. Phung’s flute on closer “Baby Blue” will remind you of a seaside breeze on a day when there is not a cloud in the sky.
If this is what the future sounds like, bring it on.
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