June 20, 2010
Think of the American west. Think of the wide open spaces. Think of John Ford. Think of E Annie Proulx. Think of Sam Baker. Think of Hud. Think about these lines "Yes, I think about how it'd be fun, to have a horse and a gun". Oblio's Arrow are Will Duncan and Steven Lee Lawson, they create these dry gulches of songs, sun beaten, rusting hulks of culture dragged stage centre, a cast of drifters, dreamers, the dispossessed and the obsessed. The music comes from Americana, again taking pieces from the superseded, putting them together Mad Max style. Whatever is at hand is pressed into service, electric guitar, banjo, pedal steel, piano, brass, strings etc.
The genre of Americana is in as much disarray as America itself - but rather than try to impose order on that chaos, Oblio's Arrow embodies it. Drawing from country rock, psychedelia and the singer-songwriter tradition of the '70s, the group formerly known as Oblio Duo & the Archers has used its latest full-length, Plain Old American Mess, to continue its quest for outer spaciness, as well as the inner cosmos. The group's recent lineup overhaul has focused its fuzziness: Layered with loose, porous instrumentation and patches of emptiness big enough to drive a prairie through, Mess is the perfect echo chamber for William Duncan's rumble and Steven Lee Lawson's twang. At its best, the disc is a hazy, gray-scale portrait of a sound - and a nation - that is once again painfully, exquisitely rebirthing itself.
Ian Douglas-Moore of Oblio's Arrow on hot sauce and the distinction between Americana and alt-country
First known as Oblio Duo and then Oblio Duo + the Archers, the newly christened Oblio's Arrow makes music as mercurial as its name. Over the past few years, the ever-shifting outfit -- which revolves around singer-songwriters William Duncan and Steven Lee Lawson -- has crafted a body of work that embodies Americana as much as it transcends it.
In 2006, Oblio Duo + The Archers established itself as a pillar of Denver's hipster-country scene with The Flag, striking a just-right balance between mellow steel guitars and experimental weirdness. After a long wait, the partners are finally prepping to release a seven-inch split EP with Reno's Flags on Fire in advance of their upcoming, as-yet-to-be-titled full-length.