May 22, 2009

Opal. Early recordings. Volume 2.

opal 2

Some bands are nearly impossible to review with any objectivity because of where you were in life when they first hit you. I get the feeling that Mazzy Star is not remembered with the same swooning devotion I attach to the crushed-velvet grandeur of So Tonight That I Might See. I can't listen to that album without immediately being transported back to a time in college when my parents rented a condo so that we could all get together for the weekend. My girlfriend and I got there a day before everyone else and spent the time listening to Mazzy Star, making out, and playing chess on a little portable wooden set (I believe she won most of the games). Similarly, She Hangs Brightly is playing on a loop in my college dorm room, its walls plastered with pictures of my girlfriend, lit up by strands of white, twinkling christmas lights.

We discovered Dave Roback's previous band, Opal, just after college when we moved to Michigan. It was the soundtrack to starting a real, independent life with the person I love, colored in by the lush, verdant landscape of MSU's campus, where we spent a lot of time taking walks and wading in streams, or hanging out in the butterfly greenhouse.

Opal managed put out one album of heavily lysergic awesomeness before breaking up. Weirdly, they had recorded enough material for two more albums, one of which was officially released in minute quantities as Early Recordings, and showcased their quieter, acoustic folk and blues side. Fans somehow dug up even more songs for the unofficial Early Recordings, Volume 2, which mixes the acoustic bits with swirling, black-light clouds of Happy Nightmare Baby style jams. Lisa's Funeral and Cherry Jam are easily two of their best songs.

Early Recordings 2

Opal on myspace

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