O.A.R. – All Sides

Trying to stay true to your roots in a commercial world...When you think of O.A.R., if you’re like me, one song comes to mind and that’s “Crazy Game of Poker”.  It’s one of those songs that no weekend night on an east coast college campus was complete without. Of course, if you’re just getting into O.A.R. now, you would think of “Shattered”, the first song from their new album, “All Sides”, which is currently blasting top 40 radio waves and received 3 and a half thongs on the RockAngel Review board.

If O.A.R. stayed true to their roots, they would jam out all album long for 5 minutes or more at a time.  But we live in a commercial world, and everyone has to eat.  So some say they’ve sold out.  Let’s get over that idea and focus on the actual music. The commercial influence here isn’t all bad.  They definitely have a more polished sound, but they are somehow still able to keep that nostalgic feeling alive throughout, and never move to far away from their comfort zone.  Songs like “Shattered” and “This Town” appear to have been written for the sake of selling the album, but they are still pretty great songs, and even if you hate it, I bet if you saw them live, you’d be singing “This Town” along with the rest of the crowd and loving it.

After the first few songs you begin to realize, that O.A.R. still has that nostalgic Dave Matthews type jam left in them.  Meaningfully crafted lyrics are paired with moving melodies and a touch of the sax leads to an album that could be the soundtrack to your life with all of the ups, downs, and in betweens.  “Something Coming Over” is a little treat for anyone who misses the old O.A.R. with their old jam-band style and  “Living in the End” mixes the old and the new quite nicely, for those who need to ease into the O.A.R. shock. “All Sides” really does explain this album, as you really feel like you’re getting a sense of all of the different sides that the band has to offer.  The only thing I’d want to caution the band on is to not fall too much further into the side that blends in with the likes of the massive group of male hometown singer/songwriters, as it could get really generic, really fast.  But on this album, as the songs start to fall into this side, the sax comes in just in time to save them.

Is this album worth your money?  I’d say so.  There are 13 songs on the album, most of them over 4 minutes, so even if it starts off too “produced” for you, give it time, and they’ll jam out eventually.  My only complaint is that they don’t start jammin’ sooner.

Takin’ it back to the old school style, here’s  “Something Coming Over”

And here’s “One Day”

And one more for ya… “What is Mine”


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