Ola Podrida – Ghosts Go Blind
Western Vinyl, 2013
Ola Podrida’s third album is hauntingly beautiful, and I’m not just saying that because it’s called Ghosts Go Blind and features myriad references to ghosts. Ok, maybe that’s part of it, but the rich atmospherics David Wingo brings to these folk-rooted indie rock songs makes Ghosts Go Blind sound like the sort of music one should listen to while driving around on Texas backroads in the middle of the night. Wingo is a Texan, of course. With all the backwards, bible thumpin’ tendencies of the Lone Star State, it’s easy to forget about that little liberal oasis called Austin. Wingo’s day job consists of scoring the films of Austin-based filmmakers David Gordon Green (going back go Green’s debut George Washington) and Jeff Nichols (whose most recent movie Mud is easily one of the best films of 2013). In a way, you could consider Ola Podrida a side project, and considering how busy Wingo stays on the film scoring front, it’s amazing that he was able to craft an album as rich as Ghosts Go Blind.
After a dozen listens, it becomes apparent that Ghosts Go Blind is an exceedingly tight record. It’s full of big, atmospheric guitars (Wingo recently worked with fellow Texans and atmospheric post-rock juggernaut Explosions in the Sky for David Gordon Green’s latest film Prince Avalanche, and it sounds like maybe some of their effects pedals rubbed off on him), somber songwriting, and gorgeous little melodies shepherded along by Wingo’s plain yet incredibly affecting vocals. It’s a beautiful record. Have I mentioned that already? The excellent opener “Not Ready to Stop” is a little deceptive. It’s got a little swagger to it where the rest of the album is often quiet and fragile at times (like track two, the achingly gorgeous and sad “Fumbling for the Light”). Album highlight “Staying In” is probably the most representative of what Wingo and Ola Podrida are trying to accomplish. It combines the rich, wall of sound-ish atmospheres, sad aching beauty, and a toe-tapping tempo. Ghosts Go Blind is a thoughtful, elegant indie-rock record that seems destined to be overlooked despite standing amongst the best albums of the year.
"Not Ready to Stop"