The Oneflower Tribe - 'Instantly Outmoded' (album)
We have mused previously that we haven't featured enough music from the beautiful Åland Islands (the Finnish archipelago between Finland and Sweden), although we did briefly visit there for a couple of features including an introduction to 'Merrigan'. 'The Oneflower Tribe' don't live permanently on the islands anymore, as they're now Stockholm based, but that's where they originate - I definitely need to spend an hour or two researching other musicians who are still based there.
So 'The Oneflower Tribe' describe themselves as bohemian blues pop, and that's actually a pretty accurate description. But the fascination of this band lies in the varied instrumentation in each of their songs, as they don't just throw the kitchen sink at their music, but use every utensil and item of cutlery and household apparatus to support the already complex myriad of 'conventional' instruments, from marimba to bongos. The net result in their new album 'Instantly Outmoded' is a languid and incredibly organic musical 'experience' and I use that word because it is the type of music that you need to rest immerse yourself in to appreciate what they're doing here.
In all honestly I didn't entirely relate to the music first time around, so it definitely is an album that needs time to be appreciated. 'Instantly Outmoded' opens with 'On a Roll' and it's 5 minutes of saxophone led blues, and the array of sounds and rhythms slightly overwhelmed me. But It's probably one of the more weighty tracks on the album, because 'The Lone Hyena' lunches into a jaunty, appealing melody and the background accompaniment of assorted instruments is a lovely fusion of sounds . 'Hibernation' is blues like you've never quite heard it, whilst 'Distorted Footnotes' a gentler laid back track which just slowly gets under your skin.
But it's tracks such as 'The Waiting Room' that 'The Oneflower Tribe' are really in their element, because the percussion rhythms and vocal extras are just so cleverly intertwined that the song seems to slightly change every time I hear it - and the laid back melody that sits on top of it makes me want to dance down the train carriage. 'Take it Over' has a similar feel, although this time the sax has centre stage and I particularly like 'Yesterday's Ball' to conclude, a chilled out and 'revelatory' style song.
It was suggested that this was music to listen to live, but in the smallest of venues to allow the audience to get completely absorbed, and I agree entirely - maybe with a good bottle of red wine (or non alcohol equivalent) to go along with it. To me the best tracks on the album are those where there are no apparent lead instruments, the acoustic rhythms and sounds just blend together naturally, the soft laid vocals suit the style perfectly - 'The Waiting Room' being a good example. I didn't think it would be, but this was perfect music for a long train journey, as I got completely taken in by the variety of sounds, and became thankfully oblivious to the irritating world of crisp packet rustling and chattering. It may not have that instant appeal, but delve under the surface and 'Instantly Outmoded' is one of the more interesting and diverse releases you'll hear this year.
Nordic Music Review 7.5 / 10