Omar Rodriguez-Lopez ‘Umbrella Mistress’ Review: ORL’s solo deluge continues with this pleasing dash of psychedelia.
We’re now five releases into Omar Rodriguez-Lopez’s massive twelve album excavation of previously unreleased solo material, and its been a wild and quirky ride thus far. From the esoteric electronica of Sworn Virgins, the somber acoustic Corazones, the bright indie-pop of Blind Worms, Pious Swine to the lost Mars Volta odyssey Arañas en La Sombra, he remains a fevered, restless artist capable of diverse song-raft.
And his latest release, Umbrella Mistress (Ipecac Recordings) takes another sonic detour, into subdued, sleepy-eyed psychedelia. Opener Saloenliaze is a breezy opener mixing teardrop guitar and the pleasing dovetailing croons of Rodriguez-Lopez and Le Butcherettes’ vocalist Teri Gender Bender (who appears throughout the album). The follow-up title track features some funky 70’s organs and jazz percussion over ghostly vocals.
Lyrically ORL has heartbreak on the brain: the gorgeously cinematic Eastern Promises wears his doomed romanticism on his sleeve: Lonely broken hearts to blame…love went down in flames, and even the upbeat glammy Blood Count sings the blues: Remember me, I’m the downer with the pistol in his jeans.
Elsewhere Rodriguez-Lopez toys with stylings as disparate as country ballad (Blue Pale Queen) and ornate indie anthem Tell Me What I Did Wrong. And despite the album’s crazy quilt collage o genres, it feels cohesive and engaging.
This eclecticism extends to the closing track, Diamond Teeth, which channels 60’s garage and cocktail piano to charming effect, wrapping an effervescent bow to the proceedings.
Umbrella Mistress might be the most effortlessly engaging album on Rodriguez-Lopez’s 2016 slate so far. Now we await the sixth release. Count on it being completely different.