Saint of the Open Opera
'Saint of the Open Opera' is a collection of songs similar to a spice shop. Each song has it's own flavor and scent, but each also contributes to the overall aroma of the album to create something not easily described. The album opens on a churning seascape with brooding, interwoven guitars and underwater sonics with 'Constant Tide.' 'Hearing Voices' leads the listener in another direction as the delicate guitar and lofty organ follow the vocals through the introspection of creativity. A rocker in the vein of guitar heroics from the late 1970s, 'Passing Notes' takes an image-strewn path through adolescent infatuation. An unsentimental look at commitment, the horns and mixed-meter time signatures of 'Nine Years' bring to mind classic songs of the 60s and 70s. 'Dreamboat' adds accordion to echoey guitar calling the listener back into drowsy reverie. The bucolic 'Seminary Road' cruises through the leaning trees and red dirt of the Bible Belt. Bright 12-string guitar and tight harmonies highlight 'Ghosts,' a meditation on aging and survival. 'Arcanum' is a flight into the unknown with chaotic banjo and distorted guitars resolving into smooth synth underscored with pounding bass. The metronomic acoustic guitar and dreamy background vocals of 'One Breath' accent the tone poem of futility. 'Acid Rain' is a jazz-inflected storm of clarinet and bright guitars. A folky lament, 'Pain & 31' tells two stories of mirrored losses. The album closes on two songs that could not be more different: the sprightly instrumental 'Frost' and the quiet piano weeper 'If, For Once.' All the songs feature Ginnifer Brown's pliant, passionate, and throaty vocals, one minute stertorous and the next soft. That voice is complimented beautifully by Nathan Brown's intricate guitars and subtle musical arrangements. The effect is an accomplishment of composition and performance that grabs one's attention at first blush but requires repeated hearings to truly appreciate.