ALBUM REVIEW: “Broken Hymns, Limbs and Skin” by O’Death
Broken Hymns, Limbs and Skin
Although from Brooklyn, O’Death rock a style so Southern it’s hard not to picture singer Greg Jamie dancing a jig, a piece of straw bouncing in his lips. The group takes components typical to that categorization and gives them a drunken spin, where ukulele plucks and banjo twang dance with a flailing fiddle that seems the descendant of a “Devil Went Down to Georgia” battle. The unruly sextet blends the traditional with the modern, and adds in an abundance of unbelievable energy, so that Broken Hymns, Limbs and Skin becomes an insane, drunken hoedown. Anyone attending a live show could not help but be consumed by the vivacity of their performance, with sweat flying from every corner of the stage and band members jumping on precariously creaking chairs.
This Gogol Bordelloian fervor pervades most tracks on their sophomore release. Elements of gypsy, blues, and folk creep into the mix, and Jamie emerges as the devilish narrator who can’t be ignored or reasoned with. His high whine is bratty and mocking, daring the listener to join in the intoxicating jubilee, but he’s also assured with the learnings of a wise old soul. As he wails over the music, half crazy and half profound, Frank Black’s howl comes to mind. Like the Pixies, O’Death gains some of its credibility with looks into the universal, biblical themes of life and death. The group is known to tour more than seems humanly possible, so for the full experience, grab yer finest dancin’ shoes and catch them in their element.