Cleveland psychadelic-rockers Ohio Sky have been hard at work lately. The object of their labor is the forthcoming full-length release Curses, a spacey rock album that is at times floaty and intimate, while heavy at others, and at all times powerfully stated.
Curses initially washes over the listener like a dream-wave of sound, with a gentle, thoughtful vibe and intimate lyrics from singer-guitarist Vinny DiFranco. DiFranco and lead guitarist Mike Bashur combine to perfect Ohio Sky’s guitar-driven sound, with warm and bright tones. Bashur and DiFranco compliment each other tremendously on the album, trading off riffs and blistering lead guitar runs. Each is an accomplished guitarist in his own right, and they become a force to be reckoned with on this album.
Many of the songs’ dreamlike states eventually give way to powerfully driven beats from drummer Eric Bambic and bassist Ellsworth Turner, who combine to form a formidable rhythm section. The finishing touches are added by Pat Finegan, whose keyboard and effect mastery helps to set the mood of the album.
The first song “Van Gogh” is simply an enthralling piece accented with tempo changes that make the heavy parts sound heavier and the dreamy parts even dreamier. With this strong start the listener has no choice but to sit back and hang on for the rest of the ride – and subsequent tracks certainly do not disappoint. Especially notable are the fifth and eleventh tracks, titled “S” and “Curses” respectively. Notable for the urgent vocals from DiFranco and the sheer hugeness of the sound of “Curses”. “These are just words,” DiFranco sings. Perhaps. But the words and lyrics sung throughout the album are delivered with an intensity that makes them impossible to ignore.
With an effort like this, its easy to wonder why a band with this level of musical talent isn’t heard from coast to coast. Even though “Curses” has yet to be officially released to the public, the band has already begun their quest for world conquest – Mark Hunter of Chimaira, a longtime friend of the band has officially become Ohio Sky’s manager. “Here is love and dedication,” the Chimaira frontman stated on Twitter, “I might want to manage bands one day. So my first project are [sic] my friends in @OhioSkyMusic. I work for FREE.” Hunter makes up for whatever he may lack in the field of band management with his own experiences building Chimaira from the ground up in Cleveland – and he seems eager to share that knowledge (Follow @ChimairaMark on Twitter for Hunter’s stream of consciousness, and advice for aspiring musicians).
Curses will soon be available for digital download on iTunes, and physical copies will be available to purchase at the band’s upcoming shows. Ohio Sky headlines the Grog Shop in Cleveland Heights on 11.16.11, so get yourself to the show and get your fresh-pressed copy! (And while you’re waiting to get the entire album, you can preview a few of the tracks here.)
Gene’s Favorite Tracks from Curses
3. Van Gogh