By Justin Hurst-Kehus, Rock At Night Detroit
Music Review: Oh Lonesome Ana’s album MEG/\DETH TEE-Release date July 15, 2022
As someone in my early 30’s who went to high-school in the 2000’s I have a massive amount of nostalgia for emo music. That being said, a lot of my favorite bands don’t really hold up (looking at you Hawthorne Heights) so I find myself gravitating towards music that was clearly created with similar nostalgia, but without some of the flaws that kept popular emo from being taken seriously. Oh Lonesome Ana’s album MEG/\DETH TEE takes the best of that genre; vulnerable lyricism, pop and rock sensibility, and themes of growth and change and applies them unto an album that evokes heavily of 90’s and 2000’s emo while successfully borrowing from other genres like alt-country, post-rock, and post-grunge.
One of my favorite things about this album is how whole and tonally consistent it feels. A lot of bands throw a collection of songs together and call it an album, especially early on, and while some excellent singles might come out of it, the album suffers as a whole. Oh Lonesome Ana deftly avoids that pothole. The lyricism is consistently excellent throughout, taking common themes of the emo genre and elevating them with excellent imagery and some completely soul-crushing one liners like “Is it not cool to wear this Megadeth Tee? How could anyone love me?” The instrumentation matches this tone and builds a fantastic atmosphere with excellent rhythm section dynamics and varied and melodic guitar work which, while flowing together effortlessly, vary considerably enough for the songs to separate themselves out.
The production of the album is unsurprisingly fantastic. The Sacramento based band recorded the album with Jack Shirley who did most of Deafheavens albums, and the immensity of the sound on this album makes the connection obvious. The vocals are vulnerable and full of character but incredibly clean, and the back up vocals add great dynamics and energy. The drums add a fantastic drive to all of the songs while never taking focus. The keys, bass and occasional hand percussion all contribute to building further atmosphere and dynamics. Maybe some rock n’ roll spirit can be lost with this clean of production, but in this album not a note feels out of place.
I believe I’m going to find myself coming back to this album, especially the album’s name-sake. It has a similar dark catchiness to The Mountain Goats, and the depth of the production makes re-listens feel exciting. It seems pretty clear Oh Lonesome Ana is going to be an upcoming force in the genre.
OH LONESOME ANA:
Ashley Maiden: Bass Guitar, Vocals
Evan Bailey: Guitar, Keyboards, Percussion
Jacob Bradford: Guitar
Zach Peach: Drums, Percussion
Jack Shirley recorded, mixed, mastered, and provided general wisdom and friendship at The Atomic Garden in Oakland sometime during the COVID pandemic of 2020 and 2021
Patrick Hills at Earthtone Studios arranged and recorded all the background vocals
Additional recording by Zach Peach at Dream Cabin Sounds, and Jacob Bradford at The Birchville Cat Motel, both in Nevada County
Concept and design by Justin Butler. Cyanotype done in analog with some weeds foraged from a dry creek bed between Sutter Creek and Volcano