Who (Or What) Is El Obo?

Written by  Published in Album Reviews Tuesday, 10 May 2011 13:00

El Obo isn’t a mystical creature wandering the countryside. It’s not even a swaggering fictional Telemundo villain. El Obo, which means absolutely nothing in Spanish, is the alter-ego of Jesse Coppenbarger from Colour Revolt. Taking a step away from Colour Revolt’s driving drum beats and thrashing guitars, Coppenbarger delivers Oxford Basement Collection, an album of his personal material that doesn’t fit with his usual aesthetic.

espz_elobovinyl

While the record definitely sounds experimental, it’s still worth a listen for tracks like “Young Ones” and “Vrgn Evl.” Coppenbarger brings out his softer side amidst a bare bones background, highlighting his supple voice with calculated restraint. It’s as if Coppenbarger has mastered his primary instrument, his voice, and wants to try out all the tones and registers available on one record. Coppenbarger plays around with distortion on the dreamy ”On The Eighth Day” and gives us his unadorned voice on the acoustic “BTK.”

With thoughtful lyrics and sweet melodies, Oxford Basement Collection appeals to the bleeding heart in me. I like that Coppenbarger has outlets for his duality. I also like that he lets Colour Revolt be what it is without inserting his influence as the ‘leader.’

elobo

My favorite track on the album is “The Ordinary Woman.” Its opening swells with undertones of country and then merges into indie pop goodness a la Sufjan Stevens. It’s a brooding song, with lyrics that give pause: ‘A woman is ordinary/Until she has your baby/So tug her along/Waiting for the day you can move on…But you’re such a good man.’ I sincerely hope Coppenbarger didn’t write this song about himself. Let’s hope it’s just a piece of social commentary, ok?

elobo2

Here’s a YouTube video I found of El Obo’s “Vrgn Evl.” There’s no action in the video, but the song is nice.

You can see El Obo in Nashville, TN on May 10 at Grimey’s for an in-store at 6 pm. It’s free. You can get Oxford Basement Collection there or through Coppenbarger’s label, Esperanza Plantation. If you'd rather see Colour Revolt, they have a tour beginning in June. Check out their website for more details.

Last modified on Tuesday, 10 May 2011 01:34
Liz Livengood

Liz recently returned to her hometown of Portland, OR from San Francisco, where she wrote consumer product reviews forWired magazine. Writing about music has been a lifelong dream for her. She learned about music from her supercool sisters in the '80s, who exposed her to everything from Pet Shop Boys to Slaughter. Known for remembering every song she hears, Liz can never ignore lyrics, which can either make or break a song, in her opinion. When not rocking out at shows, Liz spends time singing a lot of karaoke and playing Rock Band. She can't help being a nerd, okay?

Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Twitter Feed

 

New On BestNewBands.com

Pure Bathing Culture At Mississippi Studios

29 July 2014

Portland - Anyone who knows me at all knows that I am a hopeless sucker for bands with a lead female vocalist. Paramore, Beach House, Haim, you name it; I'll fall head over heels in love with any co...

Magic Man Casts A Spell On Chicago

28 July 2014

Chicago – The Boston-based Magic Man had already begun to play “Waves” when lead singer Alex Caplow came energetically skipping out on stage. His enthusiasm held strong all night, leaping feverishly...

Acclaimed Seattle Artist Fences Unveils “Arrows” Featuring Macklemore And Produced By Ryan Lewis

28 July 2014

New York - Elektra Records has announced the label debut from acclaimed singer/songwriter Fences. “LESSER OCEANS” – which includes the new single, “Arrows” featuring Macklemore and produced by Ryan ...

Capitol Hill Block Party - Sunday

28 July 2014

Seattle – It’s been a long, hot weekend, but Capitol Hill Block Party goers were eager for more music starting under the sun, and going well into the night, on the final day of the festival. Though ...