ProgressoR / Uzbekistan Progressive Rock Pages


Oho - 2008 - "Bricolage"

(133:24, ‘Oho’)


Prolusion. OHO is a long-lasting US band that made a name for themselves amongst those with a deeper interest in innovative art rock with their self-released debut effort "Okinawa" in 1974. A few years later the outfit more or less disbanded, but in the early 80's they became an active unit again, led by David Reeve and Jay Graboski. Since then they have issued three full-length efforts and a compilation, if I have understood their homepage correctly, and in 2008 it was time for "Bricolage", a CD and DVD compiling previously unreleased material made from 1983 and onwards, fleshed out by seven more songs pulled from the aforementioned albums.

CD (78:38)


1.  The Great Attractor 3:58
2.  Eros Is a Verb 4:04
3.  Burning Grey 3:34
4.  Close But No Cigar 4:12
5.  Time 4:45
6.  Plowing the Sea 3:37
7.  Blue Fix 3:43
8.  S/he 3:27
9.  Dream Lifted Up 4:50
10. Penultimatum 4:02
11. Under Covers 3:37
12. Painted Stars 3:39
13. Moon Draw Your Curtain 4:37
14. Limousine 3:57
15. The Secret 3:26
16. Antique Heart 3:30
17. Shouts in the Street 3:37
18. Ethiopia 3:54
19. It Will Not Be Late 3:49
20. Angels 4:20


Jay Graboski – guitars; backing vocals
David Reeve – drums; keyboards
Frank Murphy – bass; b/v
Bill Phelan – el. & ac. guitars; b/v
Xoho Lazaroni – keyboards; b/v
Gene Meros – saxophone, flute 
Sue Tice – violin 
Many more singers, bassists and keyboardists
Analysis. One of the more difficult challenges that face many artists at some point is what will occur if they decide to change their musical orientation. There are always a number of fans ready to scream abuse if their chosen favorite creates something vastly different than what they did last time around, and even minute alterations may lead to some followers being both vocal and outspoken on how they feel about it. I don't know how the fans of Oho responded, but I suspect that whatever fan base a band has established in its first lease of life will react to the radical change of stylistic expression it took: an alteration in expression that makes even a historical and well-documented example – like Genesis - pale ever so slightly in comparison. Frank Zappaand early Pink Floyd have been cited by Oho as inspirations for their first endeavors. By 2008 there was no trace left of those leanings. Not even the slightest detail of avant-garde in terms of both music and lyrics are to be found, and the psychedelic and symphonic aspects of the band's former repertoire have been eradicated as well. In fact, Oho as presented on this CD doesn't bear any resemblance to the original at all. Musically we're dealing with a band exploring a style generally described as pop rock now. Brief, straightforward compositions with a regular verse and chorus structure, with the acoustic guitar as the dominating instrument and vocal-heavy songs that, one exception aside, are all led by a female lead vocalist. Celtic-like folk motifs are carefully added to the proceedings by way of flute and violin on select occasions, while subtle and careful use of keyboards fleshes out the arrangements. Most of the songs are mid-paced creations, and are in general fairly energetic numbers. The odd piece sporting a slightly more sophisticated approach can be found, but by and large these are tunes crafted with an emphasis on groove-laden themes and easygoing atmospheres. Personally I don't have anything against this type of music, but, as I regard it, it takes an enormous degree of talent and skill to craft memorable songs in this very well-covered style. The musicianship and performance need to be stellar, too, for this kind of material to manage to make any kind of impact any audience that prefers to listen to pop rock. And while I suspect that the latter will rather enjoy this production, I don't see this disc having the qualities to gain a reach beyond that crowd. Not because the material isn't good, but because it isn't any better than what thousands of similar artists produce.

DVD (54:47)


1.  Breaking Away    
2.  Til Death Do Us Part    
3.  Scared Money    
4.  Out of Thin Air    
5.  Danger and Play    
6.  Change in the Wind    
7.  Under Covers    
8.  Burning Grey    
9.  Controlled Substance    
10. Angels    
11. Limousine    
12. The Secret
Analysis. On the topic of music DVDs, I generally separate them into four categories: live DVD's, compilations of promotional videos, documentaries, and efforts consisting of bits and pieces that to a much greater degree than the first three categories are made for and aimed towards an established fan base. And the material included with OHO's “Bricolage” release is very much such a last-named production. Clocking in at just under one hour, we're served live shoots and a few promotional videos, mostly covering songs not on the CD, which adds a bit of value to this excursion as long as you're a fan. Of the songs found on both CD and DVD, the impressive Angel is most worthwhile, this harder-edged, spirited piece being one that I suspect did have an impact at least on the band’s local scene and which does have the qualities needed to slot in quite nicely on most mainstream FM radio stations worldwide. But I digress. The music itself is in the same style as the DVD, easygoing mainstream-oriented pop rock of the kind most would describe as radio friendly: mid-paced and often spirited affairs, with acoustic guitar and lead vocals dominating the proceedings. Some lesser features are pulled from folk music however, especially for the live shots, which does make this part of the "Bricolage" package less interesting for the dedicated art rock fan I surmise. In terms of quality, this is a mixed affair however. The movie footage seems to be pulled from VHS recordings, which leaves quite a lot to be desired in terms of image quality. The live shots are way-off current standards for such recordings; the promo videos are of decent quality, but not to the extent that they will highly impress anyone beyond the band's established fan base. The most charming piece is the final one, a guitars and vocals sequence shot in a classroom with what would appear to be a class of first graders, who know guitarist Graboski and are rather impressed by the fact that he plays music like this on the weekends (as they are told). The sound quality is a so-so affair as well. Current fans will probably love seeing this DVD, but there's not too much of value beyond that group as I regard this part of the "Bricolage" package.

Conclusion. Dedicated fans of progressive rock won't find much to cater for their needs with this CD and DVD package from the US act OHO, and those who fell for the band due to their debut effort "Okinawa" will most likely be baffled by the music presented on this production. But if you like straightforward, easygoing yet spirited pop rock of the radio friendly variety, "Bricolage" should be of interest. Skilled musicians with decent songs and the occasional dip beyond the bread and butter variety of this style, and I suspect many with a taste for mainstream pop and rock, should find this material to be likeable if introduced to it.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: Agst 24 & 25, 2011
The Rating Room

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