First listen of ‘American Avenue’, from Oberon Rose and you instinctively think of early Fleetwood Mac. This is for good reason, as the songwriting team, built around Tommy Oberon and Rebecca Rose, draw from influences which include the blues guitar playing of the recently departed Peter Green, who founded the band.
It’s not what you know though – to take a lyric from the song – sure there’s a lot that has been drawn from a variety of genres, including folk, rock, and pop, across many decades; there’s a definite influence of the “British Invasion” from the 1960s, but there’s so much more. Speaking about their upcoming album, ‘Holographic Blues’, which is set for release on January 15 next year, Oberon says his aim is to bring “my love of melody, harmony, and electric guitar” to his listeners.
“I don’t judge music as retro or vintage,” he says, “I listen to it if it’s good. The history of rock and roll is the history of blues, folk, country and gospel. It’s all of those genres mixed together. Certain artists bring out different aspects of it, but at the end of the day, it’s all rock and roll. With Oberon Rose, we try to pay homage to that history. I love electric guitar, I love melody and I love harmony. Those are the things I try to bring to the listener.”
The lyricist for the Nashville based songwriting project, Rebecca Rose, comes from a theatre background, and while Oberon’s guitar betrays his influences, she puts a spin on the traditional storytelling of song lyrics, likening her lines to, “black-box theatre…stripped down and raw and left to your imagination.”
“As a lyricist, I want the listener to bring their own experiences to the song, so I like to keep it open. Let the listener decide what it means. David Bowie was a master at that. Garage Rock and Psychedelic Pop are the terms we most frequently hear when someone signs a Mailing List or buys a record after a show,” she says. “While we don’t necessarily aim for psychedelia when writing, when you combine Tommy’s musical sensibilities with my lyrical sensibilities, that’s pretty much what you get.”
There’s no denying the psychedelic vibe in ‘American Avenue’. When listened to through headphones you get the full effect of the that sound, from the thrumming reverb to the swirling synths; heavy bass keeping time with the pounding drums. You can pretty much close your eyes and be transported back to the late 1960s, early 1970s. There’s The Beatles, Bowie, Bolan…heck there’s even a bit of David Cassidy in there, at least vocally.
They don’t even try and hide it with the music video either. Set simply with a cassette playing on an old school portable stereo, there’s a mind-warping background in colours that remind me of so much tasteful kitchen wallpaper from the 1970s. Every so often this is interwoven with some trippy footage: dancing feet; brownish-green pastoral scenes, and so on.
“It’s in the vein of traditional psychedelia though. I try to keep production simple. There’s some reverb, some delay, but ultimately, I want the music and the words to do the work.”
Oberon Rose’s new album, ‘Holographic Blues’, comes out January 15th, 2021, via ThouART Records. You can find out more about the band online on Facebook, Instagram, their official website, and YouTube. Watch the video for ‘American Avenue’ below.