You know the surrealist painter Salvador Dalí, right? You might know him as the guy who painted those bizarre melting clocks or the man with the equally weird mustache. What if I told you that there was a band who could provide the perfect soundtrack to his paintings? There is, and their name is OhBree.
Take the title of their third and most recent album, “Burn Bridges, Burn Pies.” Like Dalí’s paintings, OhBree’s title suggests something sinister that is being masked by something more playful and fun. For Dalí, the melting clocks in his “Persistence of Memory” are fun until you realize that it shows time literally slipping away. For OhBree, there are fun, danceable rhythms covering some somewhat grim lyrics. As the band’s singer/keyboardist/frontman Andrew Scott put it, “Start off with something depressing and sinister, then juxtapose it with something silly as fuck.”
But OhBree’s absurdism doesn’t stop there. You’d think that keeping track of three or four band members would be difficult, but that did not stop this band from incorporating eight, yes eight, people, who sing, play the keyboard, the drums, trumpet, trombone, guitar, saxophone and bass. As you can probably imagine, this brassy sound is very theatrical, something that can only be compared to the work of They Might be Giants or early Panic! at the Disco (think a mix between “Pretty Odd.” and “A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out”). Don’t worry, though, they’ve still got their own sound.
Actually, OhBree has lots of sounds. “Burn Bridges, Burn Pies” has 13 songs and each of them sounds completely different than the one before it. The album takes you on a journey of sorts; it’s not a straightforward journey, either, but one with twists and turns and surprises around every corner. Take track four, “16 Years,” for example; it’s creepy and has very clear and heavy blues influences but sounds like it could be the part of a mid ’00s movie; it moves into the fifth song, which may prove to be a fan-favorite, “Mr. Sweet,” more upbeat and, well, cute in a way. It’s probably the catchiest song on the album, but just as you get into it, it’s ripped away from you after a mere one minute and 18 seconds.
There’s also a rock’n’roll inspired song called “Which Doctor, Witch Doctor,” which Scott sings sort of in Steven Tyler’s iconic screamy, drawn-out style. There’s also “Spine,” which completely caught me off-guard when I first heard it; it’s very quick and somewhat hard to follow. Its sense of urgency as well as its lyrics (“you can’t feel anything when they break your spine”) are somewhat anxiety-inducing but still fun. All I could imagine while listening to this particular song was one of those “Scooby-Doo” scenes where the gang and the monster chased one another through a hallway of doors.
“Burn Bridges, Burn Pies” was really well produced, and I could tell a lot of care and effort went into it. The experimental style of the horns and their fascinating harmonies really made the album worth it. And the way each song seamlessly blended into the next made it feel like the album was one song rather than 13 separate ones, and it made the journey so much more fun to be on.
OhBree mastered mixing the dark with the bright and the theatrics by not taking themselves so damn seriously, a surprisingly refreshing concept but not a new one. It is very much in the spirit of Dalí, who, during his life, was as eccentric as his art is (he owned an anteater at one point and an ocelot at another). Both artists remind that something grim is always lurking, but life is too short not to have fun with it.
Go Download: “Which Doctor, Witch Doctor”, “Mr. Sweet”, “Spine”
Similar Artists: They Might Be Giants, Panic! at the Disco, The Taxpayers
Record Label: OhBree.