Gloria – Oîdophon Echorama

The sound of Oîdophone Echorama, the new mini-album from Gloria, sounds familiar. You know these songs, but not from this band, and not from any other band, either. Wait. That doesn’t make sense. Let’s explain ourselves.

Have you ever heard a person speak, and they’re much better at talking than you? They’re not delivering a unifying theory of everything. They’re not sharing a key to the big meaning of life – but they’re just more succinct with their view. Some people have a natural ability to reach into the heart of matter with enough grace, personal investment, and fresh air, to make the subject their own.  Oftentimes, the people with this particular gift of communication are blessed with the ability to bring richness to the reductive nature of description. They cut to the chase, but they do it with a personal charm that prevents the repetition of dry facts. They’re friendly, you trust them. Their charm makes you feel well-acquainted with a new way of seeing an older, established truth. See, that’s kind of what Gloria achieve with this collection of tunes.

The truth that Gloria is tapping into is easily described as garage-psychedelia. Vocal harmonies go exploring through the swirls of jangling, and sliding guitars. Keyboard patterns establish moments of tension. Splashy drums bring release. The combined effect of these details produces a hypnotic result. They say that this album was created on the road – which would make sense of why the sequence feels related, but with definite progress made between the first and final tracks.

This kind of psychedelia can sometimes become limiting. Bands step up to, and never really negotiate, the hurdle of their influence. Gloria dig into the psychedelic vibe, but they also explore the root of the vibe. So, as psychedelia was informed by blues, and country progressions, Gloria extract the essence of those deeper, traditional forms.

Isolate the vocal tracks from opening song, “Heavy”, and you have an old-school outlaw country tune. Knowing that the French band invited American singer Arianna Monteverdi to feature on this song makes sense of the folk tenderness. Add the horns, and the swinging tempo, and we’re hit with the full flavor of European pop fruit. The result belongs to a tradition that never really existed. That’s a kind of magic.

“The Rain Is Out”, is a track that sounds like it could be played on any radio, in any hemisphere, at any time in history after the invention of the Hammond organ.  There’s a timelessness to the song that infects all other songs in this sequence. There’s a campy self-awareness to the lyrics here, and elsewhere. Even in the darker moments there’s always a chink of well-humored light.

“Bad Cat” needs to be mentioned, because if you play it at the proper volume it’s a track with the ability to summon your spirit animal. A  weird synesthesia occurs when you play this closing track a number of times on loop – the air begins to taste of absinthe.

Whatever comes next from Gloria, their summer is going to be strong. This mini-album feels tailor-made for the festival scene. It has the ability to draw in the newcomer, and to challenge the initiated. As a point of access Oîdophon Echorama is an album that offers an easy route to the heart of the band’s world view. They’re exploring the spaces between their roots, and they’re articulating themselves well.




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