Lo Fine is the name of a small band from Massachusetts started and fronted by Kevin O’Rourke. Since 1998 the band has had various circulating members, all working towards producing a slow yet powerful, emotional yet tame sound. Now, O’Rourke and his band is releasing their newest album Want Is A Great Need.
Want Is A Great Need is pretty perfect in a special way. Lo Fine didn’t create some sort of flawless masterpiece, but, their newest album is pretty refreshing and mixes just the right amounts of acoustic goodness with psychedelic influence and long lines of lyrics. By the time you start and finish the album you’re sort of left with this content and cozy feeling. Slow rhythm mixed with haunting melodies give the album an atmospheric feel that leaves the listener paralyzed.
When the album first kicks off with “All We Need Is Hell,” there’s a real mellow feel. The guitars are clean and simple –a few chords here and there met alongside a calm drum beat. Slow build ups and poetic lyrics add a wonderful texture and dynamic to the song. This becomes the formula for most of the album. The third track of the album, “More Better,” shows off Lo Fine’s style in a more upbeat way. The song’s main melody is pushed along mainly with acoustic guitar. The drum beat is mixed with some cheerful bells; and on occasion, the instrumentation branches out –the guitar gains some minor distortion or a piano will jump in on the fun. At the same time, the song remains largely calm. Meanwhile, the lyrics remain as poetic as before, “She has a tattoo on each arm, of two arrows pointing down, so that the only time they tell her to go forwards is when she’s reaching for someone.”
On a rather pleasant note of balance, Lo Fine really knows how to give proper attention to both the vocals and the instrumentation. So many songs have incredibly powerful lyrics like, “You’re my answer for everything,” from “Svetka Myar (Part 1); yet the band still manages to really shine. When each instruments drifts in with their little part, it’s wonderful. Each note is played with meaning, the music makes sense. At the same time, the lyrics find their place, and manage to give off their message without being too overbearing.
Like all things, there’s two sides to this story. Want Is A Great Need is by all means a great album. Unfortunately, it’s one of those albums you’ll like for a week and then sort of forget about. There’s a lot of fantastic tracks –actually they’re all pretty good. Despite this, there’s no memorable moments and Lo Fine doesn’t really do anything to leave a mark. They sort of play their music and run off into the night. Now I can’t be too critical, the band has their style, and their music is fine, but I was still left yearning for a little more. Perhaps the biggest fault is that often times the sound of the singer doesn’t match the emotion behind the lyrics. He’s not monotone, but the guy is lacking something. One big burst of emotion is all it would take, but it never comes.
Want Is A Great Need is, overall, a pretty good album. Lo Fine really uses balance to their advantage, and clears some hurdles in order to really hit home with a mix of catchy melodies and strong lyrics. It’s a wonderful little indie rock album that actually manages to circumnavigate all of the usual indie rock tropes. The final result kind of leaves you saying, “I didn’t know bands could be this creative about their music!” because really, Lo Fine practically sets a new standard.
Finally, Lo Fine has done a great job. There aren’t any real breakthrough moments in Want Is A Great Need but there’s nothing really bad either. The album really leaves a content feeling that is often to be desired with other music; it’s not too overbearing and it’s not too mild. Lo Fine just does it right.