OGD – The Big Game

Dreamland 2020

The Big Game

New York trio pool their talents to pull an impressive record which is trying to locate the collective’s true mojo.

As far as acronyms go, this American ensemble didn’t let one’s fantasy run wild enough to arrange the first letters of their name to conjure up divine connotations, preferring instead to channel their zealous vehemence via music. That’s the big game singing axeman Derek Olivero, bassist Dave De Ranieri and drummer Bobby Gavin strive to excel in, and having Jerry Marotta as a producer helped the little group to sculpt and chisel their first effort with a lot of attractive details, even though its overall picture might be a bit vague.

Debut or not, when artists are confident in their forte, no artificial building of momentum is required, and opener “Young Love” won’t take long to flesh out an infectious funky riff in tasty, fat heaviness as the full-on groove underpins a frenzied strum and spices up the ennui oozing out of Olivero’s vocals before his six strings fire a tuneful filigree into the fatigued heart of suburban boredom. And while the dolce vita air in “Sweet Life” will get flaunted once thick sonics abate to leave bare rhythm ebb and flow under the voice and deceptively sacrifice melody to dynamics, the dry pop appeal of “Setting Sun” and “The Word” seems apparent from the word go, especially when polyphony unfolds on the former and acoustic guitars add drama to refrain of the latter.

Such a lining also drives the electronica-tinctured anger behind “Out In The West” – a diatribe against the treatment of Native Americans – and the folksy layer that’s hidden in “Dreamland” yet is clearly seen through its noisy surface. The more surprising feels the hefty fierceness of “Unknown” and the metal throb of “Scary Night” which doesn’t really fit the record’s atmosphere and can’t hardly justify the trio’s pretense to embrace prog, whereas the organ-facilitated expanse of “Outland” that offers a peek into the band’s potential future can.

Sadly, on the lyrics front the collective’s creativity falters and balances between the banal and the clich├ęd. This aspect aside, the game is on and it promises to grow big, indeed.


November 11, 2020

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