O & The Mo land their debut concept album In Transit nicely between the sounds of Lana Del Rey and and the melancholy of Cigarettes After Sex.
Recorded over three months in an earth cottage nestled lovingly in the remote Delaware Bay in the beautiful Tasman Region, the Kiwi singer songwriters Alvin Barley (guitars, vocals) and Liv Gallagher (vocals, synth, glockenspiel, guitar) and went to work on their debut album essentially cut off from the rest of the world, with pre recordings of drums and bass by band members Hugo Olsen-Smith (bass) and Josh Brown (drums). Not a bad time to get back to the basics and this is how the album sounds. Discarding the normal luxuries of both home and studio, this album sounds fresh, clean and clear of the usual clutter we have in our daily lives.
The album's first track, "Take Off", starts as you would expect when getting on a jet plane: nicely settled in your seat, feeling relaxed and hearing the front door close, shutting you off from the rest of the world and its worries. Things speed up a little as the wheels lift off the land, and it feels like you are heading for an unexpected adventure.
I suspect they have done some long haul travel given the reference to the next track "Overtired". So the journey continues. A melancholy vibe that lifts you to the space between wakefulness and sleep. It's a dreamy wee ditty that brings the vocals of O & The Mo together just nicely.
"Spinning Tops" is one of my favs of the album and I dare anyone not to have a wee smile creep on their face as they listen to the song. Bursting with sunshine, you can almost feel the Delaware Bay breeze hitting your face. The band sounds relaxed and has strong hints of Angus and Julia Stone.
The vocals of Liv shine here, as they do with most of the other tracks. Sometimes taking the lead, sometimes more as another instrument, and with the combination of Alvin harmonising as he provides a luscious overlay to many of the songs. This is spotlighted on "Pistachio Moon" and "New Lullabies", where the two really seem to connect and get lost in the sparse countryside and echo of the times.
Being cut off from the rest of the country during this year in particular, seems like an unplanned master stroke that has really paid off. Alvin's guitar playing and the unique sound of the glockenspiel is a nice touch, especially on "Peaches".
The aptly named "Goodnight" is a nice close to an album that should be played during the lazy hazy days of summer while sitting under a tree letting the world go by. This is not an album to get the blood pressure up, in fact it is designed to be the total opposite.