Falls Break Through With ‘Omaha’ (ALBUM REVIEW)


fallsomaha2Falls’ backstory seems like the stuff of soap operas. The Australian duo — Simon Rudston-Brown and Melinda Kirwin — met while the two were attending the Conservatorium of Music in Sydney. They clicked both personally and professionally and then went on to establish a musical residency at a little hotel in Sydney before heading off to the U.S. to play SXSW. Their Cinderella story continued when, just a few months later, they signed a label deal with Verve Records and subsequently relocated to L.A. in order to cultivating their careers

All would seem to have been going smoothly had it not been for a turbulent relationship that found them breaking up, making up, breaking up again, and then somehow finding the will to reconnect for the sake of their music. After making their debut with the Hollywood EP, they’ve recently returned with their first full length effort, Omaha, recorded in the city of the same name by local wunderkind Mike Mogis, Mogis being the man behind the boards for recordings by Jenny Lewis, First Aid Kit, M Ward and Bright Eyes.

It’s little surprise to learn the duo have toured with The Lumineers and Monsters and Men, given the similarity on sound shared between these three outfits. Indeed, if their success seems to have come quickly, Omaha offers ample reason why. Although the songs bask in honesty and emotion, they’re propelled by an energy and conviction that allows them to catch fire immediately. While Hollywood reflected the sound they once projected in concert, Omaha finds them expanding their musical palette and opting for more potent possibilities. It is, in effect, their own take on Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, simply because the majority of its songs make unmistakeable references to their romantic milieu. “You get nothing from me, I get nothing you,” they declare emphatically on the oh-so-telling “That’s the Thing.” “That’s the thing about it,” Kirwain insists. “You should never get up.” A track later, Rudston-Brown counters, “Don’t feel sad that I don’t love you/I don’t love anyone.”

Few artists would dare to wear their tattered feelings so fully on their sleeves, but after the bruises they’ve suffered over the course of their turbulent relationship, there’s little doubt these emotions were never far from the surface anyway .Still, for all its vulnerable confession, Omaha remains uniformly sweet and circumspect regardless. The melodies that propel “Falling,” When We Were Young” and “Someone Like You” couldn’t be any more earnest or appealing, a remarkable accomplishment for a duo who are only now launching their recording career in earnest. Omaha may very well end up being heralded as the debut album of the year, and deservedly so. For all its heartbreak and sadness, it’s an album one can’t soon forget. Nor would one ever want to.

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