Album Review :
Olivia the Band "Where We Come From It Never Snows"

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Artist: Olivia the Band
Album: Where Come From It Never Snows
Label: Up At Nite/Syntax Records

Crap, am I impressed or what? I know that’s a real zinger of a line to throw out in the first sentence but wow, oh wow, is this good! Every song is a radio single and eager for your listen. Every beat is addictive and every strum of the guitar is like heaven. This album transcends all genres and rises above the melodic punk rock background they rise from. This album beats back all preconceived notions you may have and tosses them out the window. This is high fashion. So what does this sound like? Boy oh boy are you in for a treat……

The album starts out with the full frontal guitar attack on the track “808” which for you noobs that dont have a clue, is actually the area code for my second home, Hawaii! It’s an anthem about home and the longing for such a place. Next up is the track “Sunrise”, another rockin’ number with straight ahead guitar work and the strumming of similar punk rock groups. “Something Greater” is up next and if you weren’t in the know, this song actually appeared on their ep released a year ago. One of my favorite tracks “What I Need” leads the charge next with it’s high balladry and hooky melodics. It’s the “ballad” oriented number and one that instantly draws you in. “Are You Out There” is next and it’s my least favorite of all the tracks. It’s also yet again another song found on their year old ep.  “It’s On” comes up next and sounds exactly like “Lights and Sounds” from Yellowcard in the opening licks, however it’s quite different ;) It’s a fast punky like song with dual guitar melody and fast drumbeats. You get the idea, I think? Anyway, up next is “Letters in White Lines” which is, can you guess? Yep, another track from their 2006 ep. “Never Snows” follows in a slower tempo and could yet again be another ballad, at least in my opinion. The song as you guessed is about it never snowing in Hawaii and knowing your roots. Well, that’s my take after listening to it once through. “What Dreams Are Made Of” is up next with another dual guitar frontal attack (I like to use the words “Guitar” “Frontal” and “Attack” in one sentence, it makes me smile and feel giddy). This song is addictive as hell, I love it. “See You Never, See You Soon” is up next and it’s another track from their 2006 ep. I’ve heard it a million times. “Feelings” is the next on the plate and it rules! I have heard this song a million times and a million times, it brings a smile to my face. I never get bored of spinning this song. Yes, it appeared on their 06′ ep.

The album finishes with the three best tracks “The Search Is Over”, “Ending Circle”, and the acoustic hauntingly beautiful number, “So Much Going On”. Great songs!

Lyrically, this album follows a posi path about following your dreams, trusting in God’s plan, and finding meaning in this often rough life. The content is bright, sunny, and full of life. These are songs that will get you up out of your chair, bobbing your head along with the addictive beats. The musicianship is superb but that’s to be expected by a studio drummer and tight guitarists. Now here comes my disappointments…

Though I love these guys with all of my heart and their music is some of my personal favorite, I just have to say a few things. Each of the band’s songs are credited as being written along with the producer. They use a studio pro as a drummer (in the studio), and some of the guitars are credited to the producer as well. I know these gentlemen are talented but I wish they would have written their songs 100% on their own without the producer’s input. It’s also a shame that Joel couldnt have been used on the songs, but oh well, they already have another new drummer (Josh Tamaoka of Pennylane fame). The thing is this, I know this record was recorded back in 2006, but they were busy shopping for a record deal so it got shelved for several months. They got tired of waiting so they took 5 of the songs from the full length and released an ep just for their fans. Finally, they found a label late last year that decided to release the long delayed album in it’s entireity. I mean that’s fine and all but they could have at least recorded 5 new songs in the downtime and replaced the ep tracks on this full length. Another downer for me is that they couldnt have included lyrics with the release. All you get is a simple 6 panel layout with three thank yous on one side, the songs in the middle and their logos on the left. The backside had their logo again, along with the studio/production info, and the front cover. Now I am going to have to wait a few weeks until they transcribe the lyrics to one of the various sites on the net. Who knows, maybe the band will post the lyrics on the web somewhere (hint hint).

Guess what, it all really doesn’t matter in the end. The sound of this recording is what counts so let me tell you, it’s one of a kind and holds up against all others in the genre including your favorite radio bands. They recorded this beauty at a high priced (Yeah, and I mean HIGH PRICED) studio with one of the best producers in the country and had it mixed by another huge producer, Cameron Webb (Look him up). Studio musicians aside, you know you’re getting the absolute best music with this album and production that will rival any label in the country, I mean it!

If these guys can stick together for a few more years, I definitely see a bigger label taking interest, or possibly KOCH upstreaming them. They have a huge sound and like I said previously, every song is a hit single (Minus “Are You Out There”). Since this album was recorded in 06′, maybe the next album will be out sooner than later. Who knows, maybe there will be new Olivia the Band in 09′! I’m excited to see what the future has in store for these 4 gentlemen. I think David Hashimoto (Guitar) and Josh Tamaoka (Drums) will be real assets in future recordings.

I’m going to have the audacity to declare this my favorite release of 08′ (so far, of course). Yep, there I said it. This album is such a delightful improvement from their often cheesy “Self Titled” debut released back in 05′. These guys have come quite a long way and it’s appreciated from my perspective. Despite all my grumblings and incessant whining, I found a jewel amongst a pile of rocks. There is so much crap out there right now to listen to that it can really bring your spirits down. Listening to Olivia the Band brings a smile to my face and a skip to my walk. This album really lifts your spirits and makes you feel at home when listening. It’s great! If you still aren’t convinced and your favorite bands are Yellowcard, Jimmy Eat World, Over It, or even a slice of new Sum 41 (I said a ‘slice’ don’t get your underwear all in a twist), you’re going to love this to death. Buy this now, you won’t regret it!

Overall Score: 8.5/10

Buy Here from Best Buy.com or get in a traditional store location like Best Buy, FYE, Wal Mart, Family Christian, etc.

Olivia the Band on the web:
[Myspace] [Purevolume] [Website]