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The State We Are In

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Reseña de álbum

The gentle, electric guitar figure that begins and defines "Vowel Without a Pause," matched by understated bass and drumming, makes Ohayo a kind of quiet, contemplative rock group with hints of equally restrained jazz here and there, mostly through the rhythmic shuffles and sense of calm, exploratory tastefulness. In a way, it's an after-echo of everything the Chicago post-rock scene of the '90s was supposedly all about, refracted in part through the trio's collective effort as backing band on an el Perro del Mar tour, an experience that led to this album. As a result, The State We Are In is a classic example of highly constructed easy listening; it's certainly not slapdash or formless, but the sheer calm exuded throughout almost makes the listener miss it (it wouldn't have been surprising if this release had appeared on ECM, perhaps, if they suddenly had a more populist moment). The soft horn parts that quietly appear toward the end of "Daylight Was Above Me" are lovely examples, while the shift to acoustic guitars and quiet chimes on "Shadowed by Trees" calls up hints of the ethereal, not-quite-there world reflected in acts like Masaki Batoh's Ghost. Elsewhere, the buried, distant feedback tone and sudden quiet bursts of distortion offset the calmer mix of vibes and clean guitar on "Again Soon After Sunset," while similarly, there's the edge of hearing high tones in "A Solitary House," as a piano creates an immediate, approachable melody and feeling, backed slightly by strings and later by horns. Meanwhile, the slow build of "To Break Silence," concludes the album with a song that moves into the realm of the suddenly — if quietly — anthemic. But sometimes it's almost as straightforward and affecting as it seems to be on the surface. If, as the title of "A Bird in the Hand (Is Worth Two in the Bosh)" seems to indicate, it's more about a joke, the careful performance here definitely isn't.

The State We Are In, Ohayo
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