Lee Harvey Osmond: A Quiet Evil
A musical collective hailing from Toronto, Canada, Lee Harvey Osmond is the melding of a handful of artists from different groups. Akin to Broken Social Scene conceptually, the similarities stop there. Calling their style of music ‘Acid Folk,’ LHO’s rookie album has a distinct underpinning of Western tinged Rock across the majority of tracks. While front man Tom Wilson’s growling vocals lay soothingly over the grooving bass lines and myriad of supporting instruments from harmonicas, to saxophones, to strings of all kinds and reverb heavy keyboards, there is nothing I heard that resembles folk music.
The guitar work jumps all over the place though, with each track having an obligatory backing acoustic rhythm that has either heavily distorted electronic lead, twangy steel-pedal, soft background licks or a combination of all three.
At first listen, A Quiet Evil is unremarkable and harkens back to bands like Spoon or Old 97s, but after spending some time with it, there is a very real soul beneath what seem like simplistic tracks. Make no mistake; this album is Western themed, though there is a slow and steady lounge vibe to many of the tracks.
The musicians are all talented though and the album is very polished, but I still was left with the sense that nothing really stood out. My feeling is that Lee Harvey Osmond is attempting to channel some sort of late 1960s super-group. Additionally, while the name recognition of Tom Wilson and members of the Cowboy Junkies might cause listeners to take note in Canada, I’m not sure how receptive the U.S. market will be to this modern mash-up of Country Western, 60’s soul infused Rock n’ Roll.