Phantom Sound & Vision, 2008
REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 12/12/2008
I saw The Odds as an opener for the Gin Blossoms in Dubuque, IA in the late 1990s. Their music then was ‘90s pop rock and after reuniting as The New Odds with three of the original four members, their music is still ‘90s pop rock. Did they progress as musicians? Does this material show progress for the genre?
No. Not at all. And I love it.
Vocalist/guitarist Craig Northey constructs lyrics that make you relax. The music, as aforementioned, is pop rock so there’s no weaving in and out of time signatures. The most the band stretches out on is the reggae-influenced “Leaders Of The Undersea World” and its quip “Did you see the tail on that mermaid?”
As for the rest of the band… eh, they’re there and they play adequately. The drums provide the backbeat and the guitar solos, while sparse, never really overpower the song.
The type of observational lyrics that kick off the album in “Cloud Full Of Rocks” is compelling. Northey claims that the woman he encounters on a plane “who was in my seat” has such an effect on him. He sings, “Blue sky, smooth like she talks / She’ll make fly into a cloud full of rocks.” There’s also the quirky “Jumper” in which he sings, “Here’s a map of the world / Can you see yourself down there / Right beside the speck of dust / Thinner than a strand of hair.” There are more observations in “Getting My Attention” when Northey says, “Vandalism is the voice of the people when they got nothing good to say / Ride bikes stoned / Was written across the playground / They spelled stone the wrong way in lime green spray.” The beauty of these lyrics is that while, yes, they rhyme, it is a subtle rhyme scheme.
The subtleties are not lost in “Come To LA.” The horn section this track achieves a lazy feel during the lyrics “Work is all play / Come to LA.” Finally, another standout song is “My Happy Place.” Using a call and answer structure, the song ends with a pseudo argument with these lyrics: “I don’t know” which the rest of the band responds, “Yes you do,” then continues “No I don’t / Yes you do / No I don’t / Yes you do, you just won’t admit it.”
It’s been a long time since a new Odds release. As a result, enough time has passed that this release is enjoyable.