Oren Lavie – The Opposite Side of the Sea
Record Label: A Quarter Past Wonderful
Release Date: January 27, 2007 (Europe); January 29, 2008 (US)
The following is a public service announcement from the Absolutepunk Weight Estimates and Systems of Measurement Establishment (AWESME).
AWESME has recently learned of the existence of an album light enough to be carried away by a gust of wind, or perhaps merely a stiff breeze. The album, The Opposite Side of the Sea by Oren Lavie, has achieved near-weightlessness through a combination of soft strings, wispy vocals, brushed percussion, and possibly some as-yet-unidentified human element (probably vulnerability or distilled whimsy). The aforementioned Lavie may or may not have had something good or bad happen to him at some point, but it’s difficult to tell from the vanilla lyrics that innocuously decorate the tunes. They're feathery and deceptively easy on the ears, prodding listeners into carefree daydreams during which time the music simply floats away.
Although The Opposite Side of the Sea opens with “Her Morning Elegance,” a jaunty spoonful of coffee shop pop, the situation quickly turns buoyant with “The Man Who Isn’t There.” Lavie’s tender whisper and the song’s equally mournful strings are clearly to blame, and though the pace picks up with the title track, it’s the last time pulses are permitted to pump beyond a crawl. “Ruby Rises” adds the sweet puff of flutes and tickled bells to the sylphlike medley and sends it on via a passing draft. It’s claimed that Ruby, the song's subject, “screams with no sound,” but listeners shouldn’t worry, there’s nothing beyond a murmur here.
At the intersection of effervescence and execution is “A Dream Within A Dream,” the song that dovetails perfectly with Lavie’s light hands. Continuing the album’s theme of ocean waters, this tune feels more like a bird riding the wind over a deep sea, rather than a poet slowly drowning in it. Similarly in danger of drifting away is “Trouble Don’t Rhyme,” a track that would have sounded more at home on an Elliott Smith b-sides release or the soundtrack of Garden State.
Fortunately, there are just enough tracks burdened by their own lounge-y laziness (“Locked in a Room,” “Don’t Let Your Hair Grow Too Long”) or plain asininity (“A Quarter Past Wonderful”) that The Opposite Side of the Sea can’t quite leave the Earth. We must, however, remain vigilant. Persons intrigued by Lavie’s airy songwriting are advised to keep their music collections under a close watch. It’s pretty, it’s effortless, but before you know it, it’s gone.
This ends the public service announcement. Please report any further sightings of gravity-defying artistry to AWESME. We thank you for your attention.
Haha now I see. After reading the review it makes perfect sense.
That's a well-written review Travis! You have a way with words. I'll definitely be getting this album. I'm a big fan of Elliott Smith, Joshua Radin and Nick Drake and if the album is as you described, I'm sure I'll enjoy it