Ophelia – Blackbox Memories
Americana | Folk
Reviewing the albums that you feel closest to always comes as a challenge. It’s like trying to sum up a dear friend in just a few short words when you first introduce them to someone; it’ll never feel like enough. Regular Belwood readers should be well acquainted by now however with transatlantic duo Ophelia, and their debut album doesn’t disappoint. Even though I identify more with tracks from their first EP as the highlights of Blackbox Memories, like the skittering beat and tortured guitar tones of ‘I Can’t Dream About You Anymore’, there’s still plenty of fantastic new tracks here. The sun-drenched Americana of ‘Let Love Ride In’ is reminiscent of the late great Tom Petty, the feel good indie folk of ‘Fading’ is the perfect soundtrack for carefree adventures, while the title track has plenty of nods to Fleetwood Mac (particularly ‘Tusk’ and ‘Big Love’).
The stripped-back folk of ‘The Artist’ is like the musical equivalent of fine wine at a candlelit dinner. The simple arrangement, delicate breathy vocals and vibrant imagery make it the album’s most arresting offering. As with most albums there are still a few niggles to be found here and there. The record is a couple of tracks too long for my liking, and I’d have loved to see more straight duets like ‘If You Could Read My Mind’ rather than simply swapping back and forth between lead and backing vocal duties. All things considered though, even when taking a step back and admiring the record from afar, it seems set to be one of the finest debuts of 2018. Captured here we have the spirit of the open road, of golden sunsets and endless possibilities.