The Echo Presents
Guy Blakeslee, Lonesome Leash
As O’Death wrapped up production on their third studio album Outside at the end of 2010, lead-singer/guitarist Greg Jamie relocated to Biddeford, Maine, to take over a local music and arts venue and turn it into The Oak and The Ax. Since then, Maine and The Oak and The Ax have become a second home for o’death and eventually the location for the recording of their fourth full-length studio album.
The band convened in South Portland, ME, to work with lo-fi recording guru, Caleb Mulkerin (Big Blood, Fire On Fire, Cerberus Shoal) and to take advantage of the homey space in Biddeford they had performed in many times since 2011. On Out of Hands We Go, o’death return to a focus on live performances with Jamie’s voice and lyrics planted firmly in the center of the band’s dynamic arrangements, a stark departure from the multi-tracked and meticulously overdubbed Outside.
Ophelia Slowly finds Guy Blakeslee – leader of neo-psych act The Entrance Band – reflecting on Shakespeare’s most tragic heroine in an artful song cycle. Produced by Chris Coady, whose credits include production for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Beach House, it emits melancholy and hope in equal doses.
Ophelia Slowly calls up the arcadian ghosts of ’80s artists like Simple Minds, James, and the Waterboys. Guitars chime out over languid rhythms and dreamlike synthesizers. “Smile On,” with its minimal electro beat, is easily the most optimistic cut on the album, where Blakeslee (as Hamlet) comforts the forlorn Ophelia, crooning, “Baby smile on, don’t waste your time/Those doubtful dreams will only waste your mind.” Such optimism is elsewhere tempered.
Walt McClements is the multi-instrumentalist leader of New Orleanspunk orchestra Why Are We Building Such a Big Ship?; he’s also a member of New Orleans’s Panorama Jazz Band, and on top of that he’s a collaborator and touring member of Dark Dark Dark. He is a very, very busy young man. And yet, with all that on his plate, there is “I Am No Captain,” the starkly beautiful debut album from Lonesome Leash, an immaculately disheveled affair that finds him channeling all of his musical projects into a lean, mean and gorgeously messy one-man affair.