On his sophomore release The View From Left Field, Kevin O'Reilly incorporates other musicians into his formula of original compositions. He also uses multiple track recording for his bass, as well as drum loops and a phrase sampler. Electronics play an intricate part in what O'Reilly uses to get his signature sound, so if one is searching for raw roots music, this is not the album that one should explore. Kevin O'Reilly also uses Funk Fingers on three tracks from the album (1, 3, 7). Funk Fingers are drumsticks that attach to the bass player's fingers via a Velcro strip. The sticks are shortened to about a couple of inches in length and have a scalloped end where the fingers are placed. The striking end is coated with rubber. Tony Levin, bass guitarist while on tour for Peter Gabriel, was involved in the conception of Funk Fingers. Peter Gabriel decided to play a song that featured a break that originally had a drummer playing his drumsticks on Tony Levin's bass. That drummer wasn't on this tour, so Levin was figuring out how to replicate the sound when Gabriel asked him,"Why don't you just stick some drumsticks on your fingers?" Tony Levin asked his bass tech if he could do that, the bass tech said sure, and Funk Fingers were born. The bass is powerful in the opening of the first track on the album, "The View From Left Field," while the melodic quality comes courtesy of other instrumental accents. There is a dance groove lacking, which brings the mood into a transcendental meditation element. The most accurate description of this tune is to call it a mellow, psychedelic, experimental electronica presentation. "It's a Powerful Pipe!" is actually a hidden track that comes on after a few seconds of silence following "Maineline." This little gem has a progressive jazz sound within a rock realm, finely woven with some voiceovers from old sci-fi movies. Retro rock in a humorous nature, a fine example of genre blending used to create something new and vibrant. Kevin O'Reilly has turned in a different direction on The View From Left Field with the use of more instruments to embellish his compositions. This seems to be a positive thing because it allows him to be more elaborate and add dynamics that were at times lacking on previous works. This is a fine example of a truly talented musician becoming more mature, expanding his horizons, and broadening his repertoire with smart musical maneuvers. The View From Left Field comes highly recommended for it's entertaining variety and professional attitude.
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AllMusic Review by Larry Belanger