Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
In this morning’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we shine our gaze on Offbeat Odyssey, a fascinating outfit that incorporates a bevy of genre stylings into their own wholly unique sound. Hailing from the city of Brighton in the UK, the five-piece band has released their latest studio endeavor, a single entitled ‘Bottle of Blue.’ Joe Henwood, the producer and saxophonist for Nubiyan Twist, aided the band with the effort. Let’s delve into the single and see if it’s worth including in one’s indie music library.
The single begins with a rather haunting minute of atmospheric meanderings, alluding to Offbeat Odyssey moving, at least stylistically, toward a Radiohead-esque sound. Ghostly vocal echoes slowly rise out of the introduction in a simply stunning way, that is, before the song evolves into a foot-tapping, reggae-infused jam. The reggae influence isn’t just highly unexpected, it’s highly fruitful. Offbeat Odyssey has taken reggae stylings and incorporated them, elegantly, into ‘Bottle of Blue,’ which also pulls together pop and rock into its mix.
Lead vocalist Ollie Barber has a unique intensity to his performance; it’s dire and passionate, yet simultaneously relaxed. ‘Bottle of Blue’ reminds me quite a bit of various parts of the 1970s. In the early part of the decade, acts that weren’t traditionally reggae were incorporating pieces of its style into their sound - Eric Clapton, for example. In the later part of the decade, entirely new genres like ska grew out of similar explorations. Offbeat Odyssey isn’t necessarily ‘reggae,’ at least not through and through, but its spirit breathes through every note of their music.
As ‘Bottle of Blue’ grows to its finale, it reaches a particularly compelling section at 3:40 which maneuvers the sound into a masterful solo section. Offbeat Odyssey clearly has chemistry amongst its band members - not a note is missed on ‘Bottle of Blue’ and there’s a cohesiveness to the sound that’s often lacking in independent outfits. They’ve had some rather successful lives shows as of late, too, which isn’t the least bit surprising. This is the kind of music that could get a crowd moving.
Offbeat Odyssey accomplish two vital things with their reggae influence: fans of reggae will find something to love, and people who don’t like reggae may find it accessible enough to learn more about the genre. ‘Bottle of Blue’ is beautifully recorded, produced, and performed, making it a effort very worth taking a listen to.