James C. from MIDDLETOWN, DE Reviewed on 8/7/2009...
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Heck, I don't know how to review this beautiful thing...
Bighairydoofus | Brooklyn Park, MN United States | 02/28/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm new to Over the Rhine. I don't have much in the way of context to review them. I happened to be lucky enough to hear them on radioparadise(dotcom), an online radio station that plays some really incredible music. I owe them a great deal, not the least of which is an empty wallet from all the new music that I've purchased in the last couple of months.Hmmm... how to describe them. Superb musicianship, an incredible vocalist, lyrics that put most other bands to shame, a band that drifts effortlessly from country to R&B to gospel. I don't know what to do with these guys. I'm a fan of what the 4AD label used to be, and if OTR had been around ten to fifteen years ago, they should have been on that label. To me, that's a compliment - others may think differently.I'm almost afraid of checking into their backcatalog for fear of disappointment, this album is so good.The title track makes me cry. A song about how home is where home is, no matter where it is or how pretty it is or otherwise. The last time I cried at any type of music was "song to the siren" from This Mortal Coil. Ten plus years ago. These guys are for real, packing a lyrical punch that hits you right HERE. I can't do these guys justice, but it is really wonderful music. I can't recommend it highly enough."
A new OtR convert
Simon Bidwell | Wellington, New Zealand | 01/25/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Oh my god. I'd never heard anything by Over the Rhine before - not a song. A work colleague who sits near me lent me the second CD of `Ohio' and I listened to it on my headphones. About ten bars into `Long Lost Brother' the hairs on my neck were standing on end. Now I've listened to both CDs five times each over the last couple of days, and I can't stop. I've read all the reviews here, and elsewhere, and hunted down interviews with the band, trying to get my head around how anyone can make such intimate, poignant, heartbreakingly beautiful music.Probably much the same as anyone who hears OtR for the first time, I spent a while searching for points of reference for Karin Burgquist's voice. I came up with `Sarah McLachlan after a bottle of whisky', `the musical love child of Edith Piaf and Tom Waits', and then gave up. Comparisons fail. In any case, I cede to other comments in these Amazon reviews: `like calico smoke'; `like the mouth of a river flowing from somewhere far away but familiar'; like one long sigh'. All I know is it sends shivers down my spine. And the music - the acoustic guitar, bass, drums, pedal steel and, above all, piano, are sparse and purposeful, adding emphases and flourishes but still leaving acres of space for Karin Burgquist's voice to float in, weary and sexy and ethereal all at once.At first I thought I much preferred the second CD. Now the first is probably my favourite. Different songs have grown on me, while I still like the ones that first caught my attention. After several listens I've realised that one of the strengths of OtR is the clever and evocative lyrics. But the first couple of times I had tears in my eyes without even *hearing* any of the lyrics. There are other paradoxes: how can this band be so technically proficient yet still sound so direct and raw? How is it that in their most powerful moments they sound like they're holding something in? (In the last choruses of `Changes Come', Karin is hardly pronouncing the words, sounding like she's choking something back - tears? anger?). There's gospel, R&B and folk here, with country probably predominant. I'm tempted to suggest, however, that if you like music, full stop, and have a functioning attention span, you'll fall in love with `Ohio' and with Over the Rhine. I for one am a convert."
Into the Arms of Forgiveness
C. Miroslaw | Kalamazoo, MI | 11/15/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Over the Rhine is one of the best-kept secrets of modern pop music. Named for the troubled neighborhood in Cincinnati (their hometown), they have cultivated a signature sound which owes few allegiances to any "school" of music in particular. At their frequent best, they can zap an unsuspecting listener with sheer sonic beauty. This is their ninth official release (or tenth, depending on how you count), and in many ways it is the album they were always meant to make. Singer Karin Bergquist's voice has deepened and matured with time, rendering the impressionistic lyrics (written mostly by her and husband Linford Detweiler) in a voice that often resembles a long, sweet sigh. Musically, the songs are piano-based and the arrangements often stark, throwing the melodies and words into sharp emotional relief. The lyrics fuse knowing meditations on love with spiritual questions never far out of reach.Some highlights: The title track, a wistful and warm tribute to their home state; "Nobody Number One", the clipped, almost spoken words contrasting deliciously with the soaring chorus; "Bothered", a lovely meditation on childhood (among other things) that previously appeared in a rather spooky arrangement on the "Eve" album; and "Jesus in New Orleans", an inspired mix of the sacred and the profane worthy of Patti Smith (not that it sounds anything like Patti; it's just the overall feeling of the lyric). All of Over the Rhine's previous albums, especially "Patience" and "Good Dog Bad Dog", are worth picking up, and might even be better places to start, but "Ohio" is clearly their magnum opus, the album they always seemed to be on the verge of. This music will never be at the top of the charts, which is the highest compliment I can pay to anyone these days. But for those who are looking for music that is not afraid to ask questions, express emotions, and strike a chord with its listeners, "Ohio" is the closest to a sure thing I can recommend."
Over the Rhine is Back!
Write to the Bone | Louisville, KY | 08/24/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When people ask me, "What is that music you're playing? I love it." I say, "That is Over the Rhine. That music is from their album called 'Good Dog Bad Dog.'" For now on the answer to that question will more often be "That music is from their album 'Ohio.'"Although the texture and mood of OtR's latest release, "Ohio", most closely resembles their "Good Dog Bad Dog" project, "Ohio" borrows the feel from all their early projects: "'Til We Have Faces", "Eve", and "Patience". Ironically, it least resembles their previous release "Films for Radio" with its more commercial--but sill excellent--slant. There are twenty-one songs on this double album, but OtR fans need not fear that quantity has watered down the quality. Plenty of memorable tunes and immediately catchy songs are packaged into "Ohio." Most of all OtR fans will enjoy hearing songs that resemble material from the band's earliest days, "Ohio", "Suitcase" and "Show Me" for example. "How Long Have You Been Stoned" could have been from their "Films for Radio" project and is probably the catchest tune. Everyone will have their favorites.I have bought OtR CDs as gifts for people, and they are never disappointed. "Good Dog Bad Dog" has been my standard, but "Ohio" is going to be the OtR project I give out for now on--and the two CD release is at a one CD price. Over the Rhine is back!"
Can't Stop Listening
Write to the Bone | 12/17/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"We've got too much music nowadays. Like most of you I've got 400 or 500 or more cd's. When I do get something new I'll play it a few times and then it disappears into the population; there's always something new. Ohio has been a dramatic exception to this trend. I can't put this thing away. It's too catchy, breathless, non-derivative, original... I wish I had the words to say how good this project is. Over The Rhine were justified in making this a double album. They have so many ideas, so many styles of music - so much quality. I think the thing that impresses me the most is how I can't really say that this album sounds like anyone else. These guys are paving their own road. The lyrics are intelligent, the music is spare and yet lush, and completely evocative. And Karin's voice is perfect - bending and twisting, beautiful and effortless. If this came out in 1975 I believe it would sell millions of copies. Definitely their best work, Good Dog Bad Dog included. After over 50 plus plays I'm still hooked."