Monday, 17 March 2014

The Rich O’Brien Project – “Horizons” album review

The latest release from Bristol born bassist Richard O’Brien appears to have been perfectly timed to coincide with the change in weather that has occurred throughout the United Kingdom in March 2014. As the cold, gloomy winter nights gradually give way to spring, and the reappearance of light and colour lift the nations collective mood, an album such as “Horizons” is perfectly placed to provide the soundtrack to this reawakening.
 The influences that have shaped Richard musically are worn proudly on his sleeve, as can be heard on the opening piece “Co-Incidence”. Instantly memorable bass and brass lines provide a rock solid foundation for muscular soloing. Poignant keyboards tease their way through the mix giving the piece a mid 70’s soulful edge, which provides the perfect introduction and sets the stall out for the rest of this release. Not letting the joyful mood slip once, “Strawberry Kisses” bounces forward on deep and dirty bass lines which provides a firm foundation for some upliftingly sweltering guitar soloing. By the third track in the sun is beating down into your back garden and thoughts of cleaning down the barbecue are beginning to become a reality. As the first glass of wine is poured, “Juvenile” gives you no inclination that there is any reason to go back indoors. Tight arrangements again support fluid soloing, which sustain the momentum and keep the album optimistic and inspiring.

The vocal appearances on ”Promiscuous” and “Stay”, rather than disrupt the mood, add an additional weapon to the Richard O’Brien Arsenal of Soul, principally with the introduction of ‘seductiveness’ to the array of adjectives that could be applied to the music on “Horizons”. Slowing the pace down temporarily, “Ricardinho” could not be any more furtive and contented if it actively tried, and is complemented by some sumptuous keyboard and guitar playing that would not be out of place on a mid 70’s Miles Davis release. “Horizons Interlude” and “Nostalgia” provide tender fleeting vignettes compared to the cheerful agendas that make up the rest of this release, but are valuable additions that illustrate the flexibility of arrangement and playing. Tremendous music for the approaching summer months that will also help sustain the mood into subsequent years.

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