Ohbijou

Swift Feet for Troubling Times

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Casey Mecija, lead singer, songwriter, and guitarist for the folk-pop septet Ohbijou, comes off as a passionate and conflicted person in the lyrics to the songs on the group's album Swift Feet for Troubling Times, searching for love in a wooded landscape frequently populated by wolves, among other animals. Whether those beasts are real or metaphorical is hard to tell in Mecija's sometimes flowery poetry, but they don't seem so threatening in the way she presents them musically. The group employs both acoustic folk and country instruments -- banjo and mandolin in addition to guitar -- plus chamber instruments like violin and cello, and lots of keyboards to create atmospheric arrangements played in swirling, circular patterns. Mecija's vocals are much calmer than the emotions she evokes in her words, and they are somewhat buried in the mix, no more prominent than many of the instruments. This gives the music a mysterious air, but it also robs the songs of the force they might otherwise have, which is particularly notable in the much improved remix of "The Otherside" that constitutes the hidden 14th track on the disc.