Sound: When I first heard Onager at a party, I have to admit, I was a little confused, not because of the music, I loved the music. But when I asked the host of the party what the music was, he didn't know. Then I was browsing through last.fm to find some new artists to listen to, I noticed Onager.
What first caught my eye was the cover of their album "Winter Winter". The image of the bird really captivated me and motivated me to listen to the album (Which, luckily for me, was available for free)
I've listened to "Winter Winter" at least 5 times now and every time I find something new to love about it.
Due to the nature of "Winter Winter" I feel like the album deserves a song by song analysis more than an overall review.
01. Fixed Gear Bicycle - I have to admit the album's opening put me off the first time through, the psychedelic atmosphere it provided seemed like a bad way to start. However as I continued listening, I realized that this was the perfect way to begin an album. Onager really challenges you to look past the imperfections of the tune and channel into the music as if to say "Look at the big picture, it's only going to get better from here." 9/10
02. Snow Melting Away With My Dreams - The album's second track builds off of Fixed Gear Bicycle by taking something away from it. The quiet ringing of the piano confuses the listener for a moment, but the purpose is immediate understood when the beautiful parts on the lower registers begin to play, even more is added to the song by drums. A phenomenal instrumental piece. 10/10
03. Lights Trail Behind Us as the Snow Begins - Onager continues to deliver in the 3rd track of the album, starting off with the slow guitar backed by those psychedelic songs heard in the opening track. This builds comfortable with the use of the tambourine. When the lyrics begin the music continues to impress. All of this beauty is only made by better by the lovely guitar bridge that leads into the song's climax. Another great song. 9/10
04. Deer Park - Deer park is a song that I'm still not sure about. I believe it's mostly on the album for filler but I don't believe this phenomenal album needs much filler. Although it does provide for a nice interlude in between the phenomenal songs that sandwich it into the track listing. - 7/10
05. Case of the First and Second Ends of the Earth - There's not much to say about Case of the First and Second Ends of the Earth that it can't really say itself. This guitar featuring instrumental brings back memories of early Pink Floyd in that experimental sort of sense that really keeps a band pushing their limits, that's one of the things I like most about Onager, they have the ability to push their own musicality and their audiences boundaries in order to make themselves better. 10/10
06. The Surface of the Skin - Surface of the Skin provides a very nice electronic break from the albums psychedelic roots, however it also keeps it sane by adding the beautiful piano and synth parts. A nice nod to the electronica genre. - 8/10
07. My Dearest Captain - My Dearest Captain seems like Onager's attempt to sell the album, it's clearly a bit easier to listen to with many recognizable styles of music present, a solid track nonetheless. 7/10
08. Through the Glistening Dew of Morn - Another beautiful instrumental piece to close the album, it really does a fantastic job of being a culmination of everything heard in the rest of the album. 9/10 // 9
Lyrics: As the music did with the opening track, the lyrics of "Winter Winter" as a whole sort of put me off to the beautiful musicality at first, but since listening to it more I've noticed how wonderfully the vocal performance flows with the few songs that have lyrics. Overall I would give the lyrical and vocal performance of the album an 8/10 // 8
Overall Impression: Overall "Winter Winter" sparks a bit of confusion in the casual listener, but if you were to listen to it twice or maybe three times you would simply start to hear the overall beauty in the album. Onager's debut comes off completely rock solid and I hope to be hearing more from them soon. // 9