Outburn  (#9, Summer,  1999)

Dark, generally danceable 80's influenced keyboard compositions are heated up by seductive female vocals on this first full-length album from Odor of Pears.  In addition to a distinct dark-pop aesthetic, there's a sense of minimalist experimentation on Mortal which works quite well.  Effectively reproducing the gothic drama of string layers, angelic voices, and the pipe organ, Joe K's synths do the instrumental work, and are indulgently spooky.  They gain and lose both atmospheric proportions and brutal distortion, toying with industrial noise as well as etherial expansion, but never losing themselves in either.  Percussion ranges from slithery dance beats to a slow tribal dirge; all the while, vocalist Diana Blackwell soothes the listener with her lovely, sultry vocals.  I found Mortal to be surprisingly unique.  It showcases Odor of Pears' ability to create musical variety while maintaining a distinct sound.  It is also particularly commendable as a band's first full-length release.  Shortly after reviewing this CD, I saw an Odor of Pears performance in Kansas City, and thought it would be relevant to emphasize their stage show and the amazing amount of work put into it.  With slides and film, extras, lighting, costumes and props, Odor of Pears turns their music into an intense and bizarre visual experience (and this explains the third member of the band credited on the album as "visuals," Russell).  The highlight of the evening was a re-enactment of the revelation and ultimate burning of Joan of Arc:  Diana, garbed in medieval armor, sings throughout, beyond the point that she is tied to a stake over a pile of wood and seemingly set aflame--she then disappears in a cloud of smoke...wow! -- Lara Haynes

  OOP Press

Odor of Pears 2004, Rev: 02/10/04