“O.B.E.” by Obligatory British Villains

July 15, 2006

I always cringe when I get a CD from British boy singers (even when they’re actually American). I never think I’m going to break open the next Beatles or Rolling Stones, instead, I’m terrified of another Oasis. You remember them – the pseudo-alternative, pseudo-intelligent, pseudo-fill-in-the-blanks band that ruined radio for seven months or so.

Obligatory British Villains is not Oasis. For one thing, there’s a woman in there, though her presence is hardly felt. For another, O.B.E. is light on pretentiousness. What’s left? Hooky, smooth, made-to-be-pop music.

The misspelled “Alright” opens the gig and sets the tone for the entire CD. The music is lush, every instrument is layered somehow to make it sound like it’s the lead. That’s hard to pull off without creating the cacophony of say, dueling lead guitars, but it happens and it works. Anywhere I feel a touch of electronica I feel warm and happy. But my happiness doesn’t last.

Robin Locksley writes and sings the songs. All the songs. All in the same tone. The freshness of the music, which is really wicked left alone, gets bogged down in his unrelenting comfort zone.

Still, some of these tunes are unforgivably catchy. I don’t really care for the lackluster vocals of “Garden,” yet this is the song I find myself humming hours later. And I hate it.

“I’ve gotta strange feeling/I’ve been here before …” opens the song “Remember,” and at this point in the CD, we’re all feeling that. By now Locksley’s voice is the monotonous drone of the obsessive/compulsive neighbor’s vacuum cleaner and I want to get one of those karaoke vocal extractors so I can listen to only the music.

The rest of the CD passes on, creating an annoyingl aural itch impossible to scratch. It’s sad. Oasis had no talent to waste, so who cared. Obligatory British Villains’ music is incredible and so I care.

But if you like a certain amount of predictability in your music, you might find this perfect. I’d recommend any of the songs, taken at a single dose. The full CD is an OD waiting to happen. Pick and choose at www.cdbaby.com/cd/obv or www.robinlocksley.com.

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