Eric Anders and Mark O’Bitz – ‘Contrapasso’ EP

A collaborative duo who continue to enthrall since forming 20 years ago, Eric Anders and Mark O’Bitz embrace an Americana direction on new EP Contrapasso. Catching our ears with previous full-lengths like The Loss We’ve Won and Answers Belie, Anders and O’Bitz are joined on this EP by their good friend and talented multi-instrumentalist Mike Butler.

A variety of folk instrumentations on the release are played by Butler, who has collaborated with the duo previously, though the EP represents his most prominent involvement to date; he also produced and mixed the release. John O’Reily Jr also contributes his drumming talents. The result is a riveting collection of songwriting, thematically poignant in its reflections on the dangers of cult-like mentalities and blind allegiance to charismatic leaders

Opening track “High on Cult Life” captivates in its escalating vocal presence and plucky guitar work, assembling into a shifty percussive sharpness and “high as the sun,” vocal outpouring; the anthemic heights here are invigorating alongside clap-laden infusions. “Bells Toll” emits a haunting Americana arsenal, with shades of Neil Young in the vocal presence and twangy guitar accompaniments. The debonair, southern-touched flair of “This Haunted Love” ignites a bluesy allure, while “Sold Down the Rivers” incorporates strings within the heartrending array of guitars and evolving vocals for a fantastic send-off.

Anders chose the album title “because the songs are all critiques of the American “inferno” we are living in today – where Americans are either enslaved by or oppressed by the ridiculously stupid beliefs of a racist and cultish minority of hundreds of millions.”

“High on Cult Life” and other tracks featured this month can be streamed on the updating Obscure Sound’s ‘Emerging Singles’ Spotify playlist.

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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