If a folk band stepped through a distorted mirror to enter a Tim Burton fantasy world, the result might be Brooklyn’s O’Death. Wielding instruments like fiddle, banjo, and ukulele, the group harnesses a sound that might attract fans of Fleet Foxes or Bon Iver. However, there’s an urgency and power to the band that might better resemble The Decemberists, DeVotchKa, or an acoustic version of Menomena.
With titles like “Bugs,” “Ghost Head,” and “Howling Through,” it’s obvious that O’Death does not shy away from the darker side of inspiration. “Black Dress,” for instance, is obviously a nod to the Grim Reaper, but that doesn’t make the track any less catchy or beautiful. “Ourselves” is a blissful dance with the baroque, while “Look at the Sun” sounds like a charming funeral sendoff.
No matter the resemblance to other acts, it’s O’Death’s ability to bring intensity to their music that sets them apart. Each song builds, going from quiet to commanding the listener’s attention. Even if you only pay a bit of attention at the start, by the end you’ll want to start over again to make sure that you’ve caught every twist and turn.