Olmo + Mathilda - Hiroshima Tarantula - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Olmo + Mathilda - Hiroshima Tarantula

by Bill Golembeski Rating:8 Release Date:2020-05-01
Olmo + Mathilda - Fake People
Olmo + Mathilda - Fake People

Once upon a time, musicians made idiosyncratic, weird, and ultimately very human records. Of course, they sold zilch. But some of us liked them. Some of us even bought them. To us, these albums were an umbrella that protected us from a rainy world that didn’t like idiosyncratic, weird, and ultimately very human stuff.

This is one of those records. Perhaps, years from now, it will be toasted in some form of Record Collector magazine as one of those idiosyncratic, weird, and very human records that nobody bought way back when, and are now much coveted and worth a lot of current cash.

But these are odd tunes. “So Long” is an (almost) calliope paced song that sings a sad melody set against an electronic backing that is one jolt of electricity away from a human heartbeat. This music, even the electronic stuff, evokes pathos.

Oh, that there really isn’t a Mathilda. This is just a record by Francesco and Frank.

But, truly, the next two songs, “Love Song” and “Melancholy Sophie,” evoke the wonderous ghost of Syd Barrett, the founding spirit of Pink Floyd. These tunes are simple observations of the world from a pop star who never could be a pop star. They are simply languid (and very content) garden observations of the world.

Just an idea: A friend of my friend, Kilda Defnut, went to see Billy Joel at the Green Bay Packers summer big-time stadium concert. She bought a Billy Joel tee-shirt. However, she admitted, “Her seat didn’t give much a view but there was a Megatron video screen, so I watched that Megatron.” Did I say she bought a Billy Joel tee-shirt? 

Rumor has it that Sir Paul McCarthy is coming this summer. The tee-shirts are being printed as I write this. And, from what I have read, there are expensive tickets that gain access to soundcheck seats.

And this record has nothing to do with any of that.

And that’s why it’s pretty great, in an idiosyncratic, weird, and very human sort of way.

Now, I’m going into the way-back machine and pronouncing the absolutely beautiful song “Hey That’s OK” as a throwback to the heady days of perfect folk-rock of (the great) McGuinness Flint and the brilliant songwriting of Gallagher and Lyle, who recorded their classic folk album, Willie and the Lap Dog. Of course, at the time, it languished in the cut-out bins. But it is considered a classic today.

But, as the train people sometimes say, “All change!” And “Hotel Motel” goes spacey electronic, much like the very first song. But this one really floats with a throbbing pulse. But then, again, all change, as “Noah’s Ark” is a rewriting of “When Johnny Comes Marching Home (Hurrah! Hurrah!)” with really odd and somewhat humorous lyrics. The Bonzo Dog Band’s satire comes to mind.

Ahh, but the final two songs…

“Shakespeare’s Party” is a brilliant British music hall trip through various namechecks, like Juliet, Ophelia, Caliban, Lear, and Hamlet. And there’s odd commentary and conversation all of which debates the comedy and/or the tragedy of life. It is a classic pop tune for those of us who have navigated through a college Shakespeare class. (And some of us have even inflicted Hamlet and Macbeth upon the unsuspecting minds of teenagers!) That said, this is a clever song.

Of course, it’s necessary to always quote Hamlet, as he says to Horatio, “Isn’t it possible to imagine that the noble ashes of Alexander the Great could end up plugging a hole in a barrel?”

That’s sort of a rock ‘n’ roll thing to say.

Of course (again), Horatio simply says, “If you thought that you’d be thinking too hard.”

That’s an even better sort of rock ‘n’ roll thing to say.

The final song (and my favorite), “She Looked,” is a wonderful and somewhat phycological glance in the mirror that, perhaps without intention, scores an absolute tintype of a song by the great Kevin Coyne, he of the most idiosyncratic, weird, and human vinyl grooves of the Virgin Records vault. Perhaps creative fuses just touched here. I really don’t care because this tune reads the palm of humanity as well as Kevin’s best songs like “Marjory Razorblade,” “Mad Boy,” or “Marigold.” These are songs that stare humanity in its most illuminated mirrors. And then the song exits with Felix Hofmann’s brilliant clarinet solo. It’s an odd ending to an odd record.

Well, the record is all too short, about thirty-two minutes, but this is a wonderous record that orbits a bit and then lands back on very acoustic Earth. This record grooves with the debate between Hamlet and Horatio: We humans don’t think enough; and yeah, well, we humans just think too much, and that may well be the tragedy and the comedy of any pretty great rock ‘n’ roll record that will never ever need a Megatron screen (or a tee shirt sale) to project its Hamlet humanity.

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