Oysterband - Here I Stand

Here I Stand

Oysterband

Omnium (OMM 2023)

Omnium Records
P. O. Box 7367
Minneapolis, MN 55407

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by David Schultz
(schultz@alum.mit.edu)

Oysterband rocks! With the opening chords of On the Edge it is clear these guys are fresh and unique. Their anthemic sing-along against the corporatization of the world won't leave your head.

It's a brand new game, it's Globalization
From Megamoney Corporation.
Shanghai and Inverness.
Gotta sign on the dotted line for less.
Work and work, you won't get cold.
Sleep in your boots. Don't get old.

In fact, there are aspects of this album that make it the strongest I have heard in a quite some time. Merging traditional folk music topics and instrumentation, with modern rock sensibilities, Oyseterband creates a lively album that the listener can't help but dance to. In this way, they are reminiscent of Black 47 and Canada's Great Big Sea, with whom they bear more than a passing resemblance. In fact, Great Big Sea appears on two tracks, This Town and After Rain, the former being another example of the fine upbeat songs found on this album. Other stand-out tracks include This Is the Voice with Chumbawumba, In My Time, and And As For You. On Ways of Holding On, John Jones, the lead vocalist, sounds like Michael Stipe of R.E.M. singing a Peter Gabriel song.

Not all the songs are danceable adrenalin-fests. If there is a downside to this album, it is that the listener gets drawn into the spirited nature of the album by the barrage of the first five upbeat tracks, then much of the remainder of the album slows down quite appreciably, mostly slow ballads. Two of three instrumentals appear to add little to the album, other than being a showcase for Oysterband's proficiency in traditional instruments; Cello Drop is the exception. Although, perhaps not weak material, I prefer the uptempo material. Despite these failings, the faster material more than makes up for these minor inadequacies.

Edited by: David N. Pyles
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)

Copyright 2000, Peterborough Folk Music Society and David Schultz.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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