Review Summary: A drunken orchestra has never sounded better...
Old Man River is the project of Australian musician Ohad Rein. He was brought up in Sydney but has traveled to many different countries and continents. Some of these are to his roots of Israel, London and others. With these travels he has incorporated lots of different musical styles as well as gathering lots of wisdom. These styles and wisdom can be found in Old Man Rivers debut Good morning.
Good morning opens with the infectious up-beat song ‘Sunshine’. It was written with Edo and Nadav Kahn of Sydney rock band fame Gelbison. It is essentially a jam and this is the huge highlight of Good morning as the songs don’t have great deal of structure. They flow without a lot purpose but have lots of catchiness to the sound. This could be partially due to Ohad Rein using a sitar to great effect. He also uses the guitar, piano, bass and percussion in Good morning. His vocal style is very relaxed and this adds a nice soothing trance like effect to the album. The songs are primarily written by Ohad Rein, however, Luke Steele of The Sleepy Jacksons helped him with the production.
The lyrics which are showcased show a great deal of wisdom as they are full of different themes. Such as ‘Long way from home’ is about change and the different emotions which change can effect. It also has an underlining message of love and how changes by going away can be useful for developing a type of love. This love could be interpreted in many different ways such as the love of a city, person or anything like that. The simplest of lyrics are found in the song ‘La’ but it does not matter because it showcases the carefree nature of the album. It features a drunken choir when Ohad Rein was in London it mainly just has lots of ‘la la la’s’
but it’s the childish feel which captures the biggest emotion of the song. The songs are for the majority of the time up-lifting which is the greatest asset which Ohad Rein brings to table.
Musically the range of instruments alter the moods which Ohad sings about. Such as the sitar being used on most of the track, especially the song ‘Believe it’. This gives the song a Middle Eastern feel. The piano is used sparingly but to the best effect such as the instrumental ‘Midnight in Queensland’ as it is there is two of them overlaid (well, that’s what it seems like). It clocks in at about 2 and half minutes. Time is the flaw of the album as sometimes there are moments where nothing happens, especially on the final track ‘All the things’. It could easily been shorted to about 4 minutes, instead of the near 6 minutes which it is. This is one of the few flaws which is found on Good morning as Ohad’s vocals are very good.
The album as a whole is very well done as he captures some folk moments. While some of the tracks have much more fuller sound to them. The best folk sounding songs are ‘Believe it’, ‘Time’ and ‘All the things’. Songs such as ‘Sunshine’, ‘La’ and ‘Trousers’ are most full blown pop tracks. This gives the album lots of variety which adds more dynamics to the songs. This gives the albums more enjoyment as it showcases Ohad’s songwriting ability. The other song writers add a different emotions which otherwise may not have been there.