Without the vocals, this is an entirely different album. The music sounds and feels like it should be blaring from a convertible roaring through the desert to Las Vegas in the 1960’s, but then the vocals start. On certain tracks, this still applies, but the overall feeling is much different once the singing starts. The mood changes to a stronger, darker, and more powerful tone. This album is very interesting in this aspect. The vocals are completely unique and make the album exactly what it is. The dark echoing of Brad Hargett’s voice on every track that can be difficult to understand changes the mood to what the Crystal Stilts were trying to accomplish.
The opening track, “Sycamore Trees”, may be the most accessible song on the album. After the slow build up, the 60s-esque music starts to play and nearly any rock listener can get into the track. Then the dark, echoing vocals begin and at first they may be a little surprising, but soon they grow on you. On this song they are not overpowering and the amount of echoing seems almost natural. The rest of the album is not as easy to get into, but is still an excellent record.
The vocals are the most interesting aspect of the entire album and should be discussed further. There are few other albums were they make as big of an impact as on In Love with Oblivion. Of course vocals tend to make or break albums, but this is not in the same way. That idea tends to mean the ability of the singer, in this sense, it is more the impact the echoing has on the record as a whole. It changes it in a way not seen often and is what makes this album unique and enjoyable, in a sense.
This is not your everyday rock album and that needs to be understood when listening to it. It is obviously heavily influence by the blues, but the vocals take the album in its own direction. To me, this is not my favorite type of music, but I can still see the merit in this style. If you are unsure about the album too, make sure to listen to it multiple times. This is an album that definitely grows on you with repeated listens.
LISTEN: “Sycamore Tree”
WPGU Music Staff Rating: W-P-1/2
Key Tracks: “Sycamore Tree”, “Flying Into the Sun”, and “Invisible City”.
Recommended if you like: Deerhunter, Vivian Girls and Dum Dum Girls.
W = Poor
W-P = Fair
W-P-G = Great
W-P-G-U = An instant classic!