Stereoscope by Marty O'Reilly & the Old Soul Orchestra

By Michael Monohan

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A self professed folk and blues outfit hailing from Santa Cruz, California, Marty O'Reilly & the Old Soul Orchestra have an impressive CV of gigs, songs and festival appearances to their name from their five years on the road as a band. They've enjoyed previous success with their album 'Pray for Rain' and EP 'Preach 'Em Now!',now, the quartet is back with the release of their latest album 'Stereoscope'.

Depicting the groups progression towards maturity, the album features haunting vocals inviting you into the deep crevice of an artists soul. The creative lyrics that are rife throughout award closer inspection by encouraging the listener to delve into their own debts in an attempt to put a personal stamp on what are, no doubt, deeply personal lyrics to both Marty and the band. With a resonator guitar, violin, double bass and percussion, the complexity of the accompaniment provided does the lyrics justice by creating an acoustic feel that evokes a certain feeling of intimacy between the listener and band.

The opening track of the album 'Firmament' sets the tone, with guitar featuring heavily throughout and the subtle introduction of accompaniment in the form of smooth bass, melodic violin and sweet percussion. As the closing moments approach, we are greeted with an instrumentally driven outro, something that proves to be prominent in other songs on the album.

The third track, 'Ghost' has haunted me ever since my first listen. With a powerful chorus that is indicative of the trials and tribulations of love and lust. The heartfelt nature of this song lays foundations that are later built upon by 'Come and Go Heartbeat' and 'Off and On Again'. The title track, 'Stereoscope' is another gem in the metaphorical dust that is kicked up by profound nature of the album.

Credit is given where credit is due, and credit is certainly due for the band's cover of the everlasting blues classic 'Hard Time Killing Floor' by the legendary Skip James. What could have been as a bold move has certainly paid of and this fresh rendition of a golden track has certainly fallen on welcome ears. The bluesy tones provided sit well in both the song and the album as a whole, had I not have known any different, it would have been easy to pass the song off as one of their own.

Songs such as 'Southern Road' and 'Battlefield' are the glue that hold the narrative of the album together allowing the seamless transition from story to story. The album finds its closing moments in the form of 'Spacehorse'. Characterised by its heavy drum fire chorus, this song pulls the listener out of the hypnotic state that was afforded to them by the preceding songs.

Whether you're tending to a broken heart, searching for a new path or simply looking for some quality music, I can wholeheartedly recommend 'Stereoscope'. With five years of experience under their belts, the well drilled outfit that is Marty O'Reilly and the Old Soul Orchestra no doubt have a massive year ahead of them in 2018.

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