Oh Blessed Thought - Light a Lamp, Sweep the House
Record Label: BeatOven Records
Release Date: September 28, 2007
It is hard for me to write this review. Oh Blessed Thought are a small band from Kansas City, Kansas, which, from what I've experienced, is made up of nothing but a bunch of kind people. As a reviewer, however, I must concentrate on Oh Blessed Thought's debut Light a Lamp, Sweep the House from a musical perspective only. I can safely say that although I thoroughly enjoyed the record, it seems to be lacking something vital to its sound (besides sub-par production, which, for a smaller band, is acceptable).
First off, the positives. Light a Lamp, Sweep the House is a ten track, The Devil and God Are Raging Inside of Me-influenced melodic fest. Vocalist Mark VanSickle has a voice similar to that of Jesse Ribordy of Falling Up (definitely not a bad thing, though Falling Up as a band may be). The guitars add a calm, soothing flavor to the album, while the rhythm section successfully accompanies the band's sound. The band manages to appear musically diverse by featuring eclectic instruments such as the harmonica on tracks like "Even the Swine Can Rejoice" or "Ground Guiding." Lyrics may come out cliche at times, but passion and meaning is definitely present. "Front Room Window" advises, "Like a dying flower whose petals fall / So will tears roll down your cheeks / When you're hungry for more and all you get is love / What more do you need? / Sit in silence for a while, fall asleep, and maybe you'll figure it out."
Unfortunately, Light a Lamp, Sweep the House's flaws can't be overlooked. The band enjoys emulating Brand New's mellow, slow sound, but seldom is there a climax in the songs, risking boring the listener. Sure, a climax isn't necessary, but often times I found myself itching for some kind of post-hardcore break in the clouds to cure the monotony. Oh Blessed Thought also enjoy borrowing from mewithoutYou periodically, perhaps too much in some areas. "Always the Same, Never the Same" flows into mewithoutYou's talking vocals by the end of the track in a manner that sounds like the band was trying too hard to sound exactly like them. "Front Room Window" further dabbles in mewithoutYou similarities by toying with their melodies ("I will sing to you"), again in a manner that sounds like the band was probably trying too hard to sound like something they are not. Ultimately, this is where the album takes a glancing blow; in its lack of originality.
As mentioned at the beginning of the review, I enjoyed Light a Lamp, Sweep the House. Its problems do leave gaping holes, but do as I do and temporarily overlook them. The band will be releasing an EP in the near future, one that "is quite different from Light a Lamp" so be ready for a progression of sound.