Andrew Osenga - The Painted Desert

Published Saturday 9th February 2019
Andrew Osenga - The Painted Desert
Andrew Osenga - The Painted Desert

STYLE: Roots/Acoustic
RATING 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 173558-27501
LABEL: Independent
FORMAT: Digital Only Album
RELEASE DATE: 2018-10-05

Reviewed by Lins Honeyman

Now fully established as a solo artist following tenures with the Normals and Caedmon's Call, acclaimed US singer/songwriter Andrew Osenga's latest offering see him continue to cement his position as a purveyor of intimate songs that reach deep into the heart. Previously released as a series of singles, each song plays its part in forming an album that carries the theme of pain and sorrow tempered by the hope of restoration through Christ. For instance, tracks like the sublime "The Year Of The Locust" carries an obvious restorative biblical theme whilst the candid "Still Waters" cries out to God with quiet passion. Elsewhere, a song like the achingly poignant "Beautiful Places" - full of talk about scattering ashes and spending life insurance money - may sound maudlin in less experienced hands and it's a testimony to Osenga's skills of engagement that he can maintain the general downbeat feel of the album without it ever becoming overbearing. Of course, this has a lot to do with the overall sound and Osenga's whispery vocals descend like a mist on a landscape of ambient sounds and gentle finger-picked acoustic guitar - the kind you'd hear on Simon & Garfunkel recordings - to create an ethereal soundscape that stirs, soothes and captivates in equal measure. Arguably the stand out track, the inspired "Cary (Where Were You)" reverently questions God's whereabouts during some pretty hard times before Osenga ends the song with a wordless abstract coda containing feedback, discord and mild cacophony as if God himself were responding through the thunder to the singer's psalm-like pleas. An intelligent and stunning addition to the already eminent Osenga back catalogue.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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