Brian Olive: Brian Olive

BrianOlive_BrianOliveTuneful mix of rock, glam, psych, soul, jazz and exotica

Brian Olive (as Oliver Henry) explored British Invasion and American garage rock as a member of the Cincinnati-based Greenhornes and Detroit-based Soledad Brothers, playing sax, flute, guitar, piano and organ, as well as singing and writing songs. On his solo debut he expands beyond the gritty hard-rock and reworked blues of Blind Faith and mid-period Stones to include healthy doses of psych, glam, and most surprisingly, soul and exotica. Influences of the New York Dolls, T. Rex and Meddle-era Pink Floyd are easy to spot, but they’re mixed with touches of Stax-style punch, South American rhythms, breezy jet-set vocals and jazz saxophones. It’s intoxicating to hear droning saxophones transform from big band to glammy psychedelia on “High Low,” and the acoustic guitar and drowsy vocals of “Echoing Light” bring to mind the continental air of Pink Floyd’s “St. Tropez.”

This is a rock album steeped in the heavy sounds of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, mixed with the sort of experimental pairings Bill Graham pioneered on bills at the Fillmore. But rather than segueing the jazz, blues, soul and international influences across an evening, Olive invents ways to weave them together within a song, repurposing non-rock sounds in support of guitar, bass and drums. Olive’s voice stretches over his words, ranging from introspective and spent to emotionally propulsive, but the lyrics are difficult to understand, so it’s anyone’s guess what he’s actually singing about. Still, even without a simple storyline or easy sing-a-long, this is musically rich. Perhaps a lyric sheet could accompany the next album? [©2009 hyperbolium dot com]

MP3 | There is Love
Brian Olive’s MySpace Page

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