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Owen Lake and The Tragic Loves - The Best of Your Lies

by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:9 Release Date:2018-11-30
Owen Lake and The Tragic Loves - The Best of Your Lies
Owen Lake and The Tragic Loves - The Best of Your Lies

What is a succesful genre mash-up? When the lovers of the involved genres immediately love it, or when the artists who attempt it actually involve all the characteristics, archetypes if you wish of those genres, exposing both their strong and weak points?

With The Best of Your Lies, the debut album by Owen Lake and The Tragic Loves (they released an EP way back in 2009), there will be no immediate lovers among those who love the old-fashioned country, modern dance beats or those who like the sound of dream pop style guitars. That is exactly what Mr. Lake and his cohorts are trying to combine here, but taking some classic country tunes (everything from George Jones to Lefty Frizzell) and a few of his own with some ‘standard’ club beats (voice modulation like on “When You Miss Me When I’m Gone” included) and often jangling or crashing guitar sounds. Of course, pedal steel is everywhere. Crazy? Certainly! But is it any good?

I guess when he came up with the title track Lake, possibly with a good part of his tongue in cheek, wanted to see if certain genre stereotypes will mesh well and come up with something that would sound good. One thing is certain though, neither pure country or club beats lovers will jump for joy over this one. They most probably want their stuff pure and unadulterated. Personally, I love this stuff and think Lake is onto something.

To be able to do so, you really need to have all these styles in your small fingers, and Lake and the players, pianist Pascal Le Boeuf of Le Boeuf Brothers, Caroline Shaw who played with Kanye West, and two pedal steel players, Rich Hinman who shares these duties for Rosanne Cash and Neko Case and Susan Alcorn who plays with modern jazz experimentalist Mary Halvorson, among others, certainly do.

What they are able to do is make some standard lines fit together as if they were always supposed to do so, with the interjection of some dream pop guitar lines, like on “Always Always”. The country licks leave enough space for the electronics, while those in no way overpower the original feel of the songs, like on the “Long Black Veil”, or the crazy combination of double fiddles and electronics of “Texas Crapshooter” that actually might end up on a dance floor somewhere.

Who knows, maybe at some point Owen Lake and The Tragic Loves will pass that line from instantly rejected to trailblazers.

 

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