Venice Is Sinking – Okay EP
Record Label: One Percent Press Records
Release Date: September 22, 2009
Okay is a band. Would I like them? Does the transitive property (hold on to your hats!) mean that because I like Venice Is Sinking, who like Okay and cover two of their songs on their creatively-named Okay EP, that I should have no problem with Okay (the band)? Trick question, because I will never listen! That would be like eating an Oreo today and then eating an Oreo from the mid-50’s, you know, back before they packed them with all those life-changing, artificial ingredients. If there’s one thing I’ve learned as an American, it’s that we don’t look back. Not for lagging family members, and definitely not for, yuck, educating ourselves so that we can, eew, talk coherently on a subject. Plus, Venice Is Sinking would be sad if I spoke about some other band when my real intent is to praise Okay (the EP).
Coming along shortly after Venice Is Sinking’s full-length Azar, this EP continues the band’s romantically bare indie pop. If you have that record and love it for its guy-girl melodies and regal trumpets, go nuts here. The full-length’s single, “Okay” (the song), is pasted here to immediately bring joy to our lives. It also reappears in a demo version later in the EP, but the album version is that rare occasion when a folk-inspired outfit profits from crisper production. “Compass” halts “Okay”’s pace with Karolyn Troupe’s deep violin tones. Daniel Lawson matches the seriousness of the affair with far-off vocals that seem to float straight into our deepest recesses. But the funny thing about a song like “Compass” is how the band never bear down on us with all this soberness. Alex Thibadoux’s tinkling keyboard adds a playful vibe to remind us that, firstly, it’s just pop music, and secondly, it’s just life.
Despite Lawson’s genius-level compositions, Okay (the EP) really flourishes upon the soulful alto of Karolyn Troupe. Her airy notes on “Give Up” have the ability to change lives. She makes Feist look like someone that isn’t Feist at all, and the way she commands the song during its triumphant crescendo (which is also lead by her violin) is simply stunning. An EP doesn’t afford much time for this, but “Give Up” becomes a true metamorphosis for this little collection. Once some of the fluff is gone (see: Azar’s glitchy segues) Troupe’s voice will shine through with a purity that makes me uncomfortably giddy. The group’s sweeping arrangements will only become more gorgeous with her as co-captain rather than first mate. I have a hunch, however, that any route Venice Is Sinking decide upon will be the correct one.
Recommended If You Like: Okay (the band (probably)), Camera Obscura, ta-da's, These United States, argon