By Ljubinko Zivkovic, Rock At Night Amsterdam
Review: Eric Anders and Mark O’Bitz – Answers Bellie-Release date June 24, 2023
Bay Area singer-songwriter/folk duo Eric Anders and Mark O’Bitz are quite prolific – they have so far released eight albums as well as 4 EP’s and 5 singles and have started to build a following among the fans of the so-called ‘thinking pop’ and are now, as pop charts usually say ‘bubbling under.’
The really started getting noticed with their 2020 concept album ‘American Bardo,’ which was inspired by George Saunders’ Mann-Booker-Prize-winning novel, Lincoln in the Bardo.
This time around, on their latest seven-song offering ‘Answers Bellie,’ the duo again had another literary inspiration.
Eric Anders explains: “The title track is about how the answers we’ve had to life’s big questions often disguise/reveal our deepest uncertainties and fears. In his poem, “The Second Coming,” Yeats writes “The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity.” The “answers” that the worst hold so tight to not only belie their fear and insecurity; they are also the foundation for their passionately intense violence against those who are otherwise.”
To work musically behind such lofty literary inspirations requires some serious thought and execution and the duo come shining out of such an experience again. Instead of over-complicating their music the duo go for some textured arrangements that are neither too simple nor overbearing, letting their vocals and inspired lyrics shine here.
It is all thoughtful themes, from discussions on democracy, civil service to growing old, and climate change. Anders and O’Bitz escape all the pitfalls of being too preachy expressing their thought in a clear and understated manner, both lyrically and musically.
An intriguing album from the duo, again.
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