Album: Obi

Diceman Lopez, Cooking Vinyl
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The Independent Culture

Obi are the vehicle for Damian Katkhuda's songs of hapless loners and losers, introverts and imaginary heroes, their sketched outlines coloured in with a range of faux-Americana instrumental touches - bluegrass fiddle, hymn-like harmonium, Tex-Mex trumpet. A loose conceptual theme can be traced through the recurrent notion of incompetent or unreliable storytelling in songs such as "Incredible Jack", who sang "about stuff in his life you might find", and "The Tale of Old Rodriguez", whose narrator is distracted from his story by the hubbub of voices in his head. Accompanying this theme is a tone of world-weariness and the oft-stated conviction that other, less talented but more successful storytellers have stolen the protagonists' thunder and ideas, leaving them bereft but still with "the devil chewing at my soul". Atone of Zen equanimity overtakes songs such as "Little Things", "To Some Folk" and "Time Alone Will Tell" ("Like drops in the sea of life we are/ Here just to find our way back to the stars"), culminating in the entropy of "Plague on This House", in which the inevitable decay of everything - impetus, desire, energy, memory - is welcomed with only the faintest trace of regret or bitterness. Imagine Tim Burton's Big Fish directed by Jim Jarmusch and scored by The Coral, and you'll get an idea of the mood and ambition of Diceman Lopez. Recommended.

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