Friday, July 18, 2008

Album Review: The Horse Flies' Until the Ocean

The first time I ever heard of The Horse Flies was on a t-shirt that my now-wife owned when we started dating. That was ’round about 1996 in Chicago. Of course by then, the band had already been around for 15 years. After a recording hiatus that followed the death of original bass player, John Hayward, in 1997 they have just released a new album, Until the Ocean. The new record is a mix of covers and originals.

Until the Ocean is a welcome return to recorded music. It’s always great to get to see the band live—it is truly their element—but the new CD is a pleasure. With strong originals such as “14 Reasons” and the anti-war “Baghdad Children,” it’s clear what great songwriters they are. As strong as they are as songwriters, they’re also masterful interpreters of tunes by other musicians. It takes guts to cover the song “Oh Death,” which was made famous on the Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack.

The new album is also a reminder of how lucky we are to have The Horse Flies call our fair region home. The band was alt-folk, roots rock, and Americana music, before these categories were even being used. They’ve been playing together for a long time and are fortunately not showing any signs of slowing down. And of this and the great Until the Ocean, we can be thankful.


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