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OBLIO JOES – Let’s Decompose And Enjoy Assembling (CD, Twisted Kite)

Posted: July 9th, 2007, by Simon Minter

Their website currently states “Thank you and goodbye!”, but I can’t ascertain whether or not Oblio Joes are still an ongoing concern. So, Let’s Decompose And Enjoy Assembling could be their last release. If that’s the case, it’s a shame. This is a fantastic collection of off-centre songs that as much recall the giddy optimism of prime Beach Boys and the glossy vacuity of 10CC as they do the noise-tinged melodies of Pavement and Built To Spill.

Whilst the Pavement comparisons are at times obvious – in the broken, wavering vocals of John Brownell and the rich, subtly complex song structures – it’s not like Pavement have sole rights to creating uplifting, sadness-inflected melodic guitar music. Oblio Joes stamp their own personality on many of the songs here; the heart-rending, self-effacing lyrics on the unnamed opening track and closer ‘Grey Skies’, ‘Dutch Boy’ with its growth from simplistic banjo picking into dreamy, staccato swathes of tune, or the upbeat and jolly ‘Good Neighbour’, with its rolling enthusiasm and melody after melody.

At the heart of their music, Oblio Joes employ a skilful sense of arrangement and contrast. Songs like ‘Capricorn Cowboy’ and ‘Holes’ sound initially simple, but underneath their surface lies a strange collection of sounds and multi-layered instrumentation. It’s this seemingly effortless mastery of songs that can be peeled back to reveal rich seams of musicianship and emotional tugging that sets Oblio Joes apart, as not only a great pop band, but one with real depth and the ability to reward the careful listener. If it is thank you and goodbye from them, this album is a fine way to bow out.

Oblio Joes

Simon Minter

Simon joined diskant after falling on his head from a great height. A diskant legend in his own lifetime Simon has risen up the ranks through a mixture of foolhardiness and wit. When not breaking musical barriers with top pop combo Sunnyvale Noise Sub-element or releasing records in preposterously exciting packaging he relaxes by looking like Steve Albini.


1 Response to OBLIO JOES – Let’s Decompose And Enjoy Assembling (CD, Twisted Kite)

  1. Anonymous

    It is ‘thank you and good bye’ from the Oblio Joes.”let’s decompose and enjoy assembling” being the Oblio Joes last album is “a fine way to bow out”. It is a sad occurrence though. They were a great band that resided in Missoula, Mt and played together for fourteen years.The band was formed by high school and college friends. This strong foundation built an incredibly well crafted power pop machine. Lead singer/rhythm guitarist John Brownell is a great songwriter that shines through his witty and smart storytelling style lyrics. He was supported by lead guitarist Stu Simonson that helped tie the story together with his beautifully tuff leads. And last but not least the power of Dan ‘Felix’ Strachan on the skins. The Obes known for their climatic dynamics was not possible without Felix’s textures that made him more than the backbone of the rhythm section. The line up was fairly consistent throughout their history besides the wise decision of adding keyboardist Ian Smith in the mid to late 90’s.Along with the original bassist Tor ? bowed out after their second to last album and was replaced by fellow Missioulian John Fleming (the Everyday Sinners,the Hellgate Stranglers, owner Earcandy record shop). Hopefully, a couple of you have had the fortune of seeing one of their incredible gigs. Granted their albums are great, they are truly a live band fueled by their love of music and a steady flow of Pabst. I hope you all check this band out because they are one of the best I know of.
    I was also fortunate enough to have played in a short-lived side project with the drummer and keyboardist called Daphne Starburst.