Olney Clark (Self-Titled Debut)

A quick perusal of MySpace told me that this songwriting team of two friends, Grant Olney and Barry DeBakey (Clark), hails from Scotland, one having just finished an intensive degree, and the other traversing not only the physical terrains of Texas and California, but also the emotional ones of grief and loss. Combining efforts and these […]

Holly Etchison

8
out of 10


Olney Clark (Self-Titled Debut)
April 13, 2010

A quick perusal of MySpace told me that this songwriting team of two friends, Grant Olney and Barry DeBakey (Clark), hails from Scotland, one having just finished an intensive degree, and the other traversing not only the physical terrains of Texas and California, but also the emotional ones of grief and loss. Combining efforts and these particular moments in their lives, what has emerged is an album filled with symphonic, soul searching songs–containing repeated refrains like the looptrack of thoughts rolling through our minds, the conversations we have with ourselves, candid questions we would maybe pose to another if we were confident they would want to hear our heart, and which, in case we were not, we could use in lieu of our own.

Part Bryan Ferry crooning, part Leonard Cohen musing, even a few piano moments akin to Van (only a pond’s jump away) Morrison’s “Poetic Champions Compose,” I enjoyed the unpredictable compositions and found them lyrically satisfying.

The opening song, “Apart Fro” promises a lot for the rest of the record, setting a painfully transparent tone:
“Would you love me if you knew me / Or am I just too hard to know?”

…And a searing finish:

“Nothing’s gonna change me if I don’t learn to listen / No one’s gonna love me then.” –A violin in solitude cries mid-track; Crazy Horse guitar crackles at the fade-out.

On its heels, “Josefin the Writer” does not disappoint either. Shy girls with ink-stained fingers may find romance in this semi-sad whimsy:“Josefin the writer has books locked in her head, where will she find love, where will she find a reader like me?”A few songs lost me, but they were punctuated by other attention grabbers like “Let Love Be” and “Mason of Oak” with their wise, humble adages —‘’if loving me keeps your mind from feeling free, just let love be”; —“everyone’s just trying to be happy” and the interesting symbolism of “King of the Bees”– “I am the King of the Bees, you are the giver of seasons.

“Loving, having lost, or fearing never attaining, loneliness, separation, resigning and resolving to find joy—it’s all here broken up by a few carefree, poppy moments— the ‘watching tv, eating a good meal, taking a nice walk’ moments. Sort of like life.Or sort of like the lives of these two gents it would seem.

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