18 Oct 2021
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OdESSA - Single Review: It's Gonna Get Better

30 Sep 2021 // A review by Kev Rowland

They may have disbanded in 2009 after seven years and three albums, but Wellington-based OdESSA are back. Given that lyricist/vocalist Matthew Pender had been living in London for an extended period, it was never thought that this would ever happen, but he returned from overseas just two days before New Zealand went into lockdown last year. As bassist Paul Mouncey says, I had a box of old OdESSA cassettes tapes, unfinished songs, and music from over twelve years ago, and suddenly three months with nothing to do. It took some doing, but eventually Paul convinced Matthew that time was right for a revival, but instead of sticking to the original four-piece they have now doubled in size, added keyboards and horns, (care of Richter City Rebels). In addition, Grammy-winning artist Mireya Ramos found herself in New Zealand when the lockdown came into force, so she stayed, playing festivals, and collaborating with the likes of Troy Kingi and OdESSA, and here she appears as guest vocalist, duetting with Matthew.

Although this is the first time the song has been recorded in a studio, a live version did appear on their third album, Bring Me The Head of Pepe Lopez, but it has now been totally reimagined and reworked with the extended line-up. Here we have a song which settles into the groove right from the beginning, with a powerful horn introduction giving way to Mireya throwing her voice around with ease. Matthew joins in, blending his voice with hers before taking the lead himself. This back and forth continues throughout the song, with the bass often providing the melody, guitar coming in and out, keyboards having a wonderful organ backdrop, and the horns resting up or coming in hard. This is a feel-good song, one where the listener finds themselves with a smile and moving to the beat without even realising what they are doing.

The two singers work incredibly well together, and one can imagine them in the studio recording at the same time and just bouncing, as this never sounds as if they were recording at different times. When they move up into the bridge, the vocal lift is simply wonderful. It sounds as if this song is going to heavily extended in the live setting, with everyone having their turn, and it is packed full of warmth, soul, funk, jazz and pure unadulterated fun.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )
 

About OdESSA

OdESSA have a solid reputation as one of New Zealand’s most exciting live bands. Their addictive blend of Rock RnB, electrifying grooves and phenomenal energy are sure to grab your attention.

OdESSA kick along the dusty centre-line where Rock 'n' Roll and R 'n' B first cross-mutated, with memorable songs played inside out – night after night.

OdESSA is a fluid and inventive rhythm section, with searing licks and dirty guitar grooves, polished off with strong, soulful vocals – playing wild to hot, sweaty crowds going crazy in a heady swirl of streetlights and hormones – exactly the way it's supposed to be. The 2021 edition has the addition of a horn section and keyboards.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for OdESSA

Releases

Bring Me The Head Of Pepe Lopez
Year: 2010
Type: Album
The Prize
Year: 2007
Type: Album
Oak Park Avenue
Year: 2005
Type: Album

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