- SWEET SOUNDS: Oh No! Oh My!'s Greg Barkley.
Rare is the band that can inspire a crowd to clap along without explicit instruction. For the Oh No! Oh My! fans at last Thursday's show at Revolution, it was a naturally occurring reaction to the group's infectious melodies and upbeat rhythms.
Oh No! Oh My! is the latest export from the fertile musical soil of Austin, Texas. Their sound is pure pop with a dedication to melody that is too often lost amid the requisite noise of rock 'n' roll. Their songs are innocent in a Death Cab for Cutie mold, and their lyrics border on twee (“you look like Audrey Hepburn when you get all dressed up”). The band's MySpace page lists no less than six instruments per person in the quartet, and Thursday's show featured several duty rotations, but primarily the singing and bass playing were handled by Barkley, drums by Joel Calvin, guitar by Daniel Hoxmeier and keyboards by Tim Regan.
Regan was the hardest worker of the night. His selection of vintage keyboards (Fender Rhodes, Farfisa) and synthesizers gave the band a wide array of tones with which to paint. When he wasn't playing keys, he was hammering on a Gibson Les Paul or blowing into a melodica (a handheld reed-based keyboard). He even opened for himself, as he had the distinction of also being a member of the supporting act, Snowglobe, from Memphis. Regan explained that he was originally from Memphis and had recently relocated to Austin, but that he plays with Snowglobe whenever schedules permit.
A word should be said about the audio quality. The drum sound was big and deep and the various other instruments remained distinct without blurring together. (This was due in part to the band's choices of timbre: they don't traffic in loud, distorted guitars or overly kinetic displays of vocal intensity. They specialize in breezy, head-bobbing songs delivered in direct, unadorned tones.) Theirs and last week's Guru show should have put to rest complaints over the sound quality at Revolution.
Oh No! Oh My! has a grueling schedule of 25 more dates on their national tour (quite an accomplishment for an unsigned band) over the next month, so hopefully after they recover they will bring their festive brand of sunny pop back to our area soon.