Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Your voice is stronger than most, raised in a toast to longing

This post has been a long time coming. Olenka & the Autumn Lovers have been the band to leave the biggest mark on me without hearing the album before seeing them live. The music has an eastern-european feel, hailing out of London, Ontario and Vancouver, BC.

Alexandra (or Olenka, may as well call her by her stage name, but I don't do it for Fred, so who knows..) was there at the front of the stage, wearing a knit sweater and workboots, her hair bleached blonde--she herself is such an interesting and distinctive frontpiece to the band. Her foot started stomping on that wooden stage at George's, the music began with the glockenspiel and the accordion, and her voice, oh my gosh the woman's voice! You'll hear, if you take a look at the songs I'm putting up... but it is at the same time fragile and powerful, damaged and warbling and beautiful. The band as an ensemble works perfectly, the bandmates acting as a chorus (which you just don't hear enough these days) and just everything about this act was brilliant. The songwriting, both in terms of the music and the lyrics, is phenomenal, evoking the eastern european heritage of the writer. A friend remarked to me at the time that Iron Pump is written in 7/4 time, and it creates just... oh, its one of those ethereal things. The whole song is. I could get lost in her voice, in the music, in everything. This is what we need more of.

If you'll remember, I ranked their full-length as the 9th best album of 2008. It is brilliant. Available through CD Baby and iTunes. Check it out, and their myspace! The highlight for me on the album is a track called Soldier's Waltz. Starting with that intro, the plucked strings and the accordion and the glockenspiel, and cutting into some of the most beautiful lyrics I've ever heard [See the blog title]. Do not let yourself miss out on this group. They are among my favourites about which I've blogged, and, like I said in a previous post, the reason that concert was the second best of the year was not just an exceptional Tom Fun Orchestra set, but hearing Olenka & the Autumn Lovers for the first time, and falling absolutely in love.

Oh, Canadian music, shall you never fail me?

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