Brian Olive's solo debut, released on the all-mighty Alive Records, is a warm, fuzzy adventure in the world of vintage, psychedelic soul. Part Memphis rhythm and blues, part British psychedelia from the Nuggets era of the 1960's, this album is the perfect complement to your summer merriment. Recorded and mixed by Brian himself on analog tape, this album screams a throwback sound along the lines of such artists today as A Band of Bees and The Blue Van. This album sounds so vintage that I can almost guarantee you that, like myself, you will have to keep checking the production and release dates to make sure that you haven't stumbled upon some long lost gem from yesterday. Olive sings, plays a multitude of instruments (guitar, keys, and saxophones to be exact), and drowns it all in thick, syrupy reverb that alleviates any of the modern era from seeping through. Joining him on this musical kaleidoscope are a revered group of musicians including Jared McKinley and Craig Fox of the Greenhornes, Mike Weinel of the Heartless Bastards, and Dan Allaire of the Brian Jonestown Massacre.
Opening the album with "Ida Red", Olive and company leave absolutely no wonder as to what kind of album that we are in store for; fuzzy vocals, background harmonies, and acoustic guitar rhythm lines that are eerily similar to the banjo attack of the Monks. Following suit, Brian brings several other mid-tempo garage numbers to the table including "The Day is Coming" and "Killing Stone." Shaking things up a bit, Olive and company add some blistering soul numbers to the pot with the Beale Street beat of "Strealin" and the open, celebratory choruses of "Jubilee Line" that could have graced the Stax label many years ago. Though one of the softer selections on the album, "Echoing Light" is the icing on the cake. The slow, acoustic subtleties, wind chimes, and percussive brush work make me want to fire up the tiki-torches and sip on some umbrella drinks out in the garden. What more could we ask for in a summer time album? -Andrew Bryant