REVIEWS | FEATURES | DEPARTMENTS | BOOMBOX | PODCAST | MISC
SEARCH:
splendid > reviews > 1/28/2002
Jim O'Rourke
Jim O'Rourke
Insignificance
Drag City


Format Reviewed: CD

Soundclip: "All Downhill From Here"

Buy me now
While his personal hygiene habits might be slightly suspect, Jim O’Rourke is one hell of a producer; ask anyone who’s heard Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot or Superchunk’s Come Pick Me Up. Others may have noticed O'Rourke's keen sense for detecting talented young musicians like Kevin Drumm via his Moikai imprint. But what many people fail to remember is that O’Rourke is, first and foremost, a talented and versatile musician in his own right.

Something of a departure from past efforts, Insignificance sees O’Rourke eschewing pure pop and experimental weirdness in favor of a more structured, Todd Rundgren-inspired sound. In order to bring his rock ‘n roll dreams to life, O’Rourke has enlisted the help of indie stalwarts like Ken Vandermark, Rob Mazurek, Ken Champion and, in the spirit of returning favors, Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy and Glenn Kotchke. This group of players makes up the heart and soul of Insignificance.

The time that O'Rourke spent on the road with Sonic Youth has apparently had a major effect on him, because there’s never been anything as steadfastly rocking as "Therefore, I Am" on any of his previous outings. It’s made abundantly clear this time out that O'Rourke's chops extend far beyond the twiddling of knobs and arranging of horns, as the gnarly, Ronson-esque guitar and staccato rhythms of "Memory Lame" most tastefully affirm. Elsewhere, the jangly guitar and somewhat sloppy playing of opener "All Downhill from Here" seem miles removed from the carefully crafted studio pop songs of their predecessor, Eureka, while the maudlin almost-ballad "Good Times" betrays its name, favoring spookily resonant acoustic guitar and pedal-steel interplay. And in the six-minute-plus album closer "Life Goes Off", O’Rourke returns to familiar mid-tempo territory, flourishes of Powerbook noodling, pedal-steel and creamy piano riffs brightening the corners of this otherwise downtrodden paean to life gone awry.

Rarely has the indulgence of rock ‘n roll dreams sounded this concise. That’s why it’s fair to say that with Insignificance, Jim O’Rourke proves himself to be just as formidable a threat in front of the mixing desk as he is behind it.



REVIEWS:

12/31/2005:
Ladytron

Brian Cherney

Tomas Korber

UHF

The Rude Staircase

Dian Diaz

12/30/2005:
Helloween

PTI

The Crimes of Ambition

Karl Blau

Rosetta

Gary Noland

12/29/2005:
Tommy and The Terrors

Blacklisted

Bound Stems

Gary Noland

Carlo Actis Dato and Baldo Martinez

Quatuor Bozzoni

12/28/2005:
The Positions

Comet Gain

Breadfoot featuring Anna Phoebe

Secret Mommy

The Advantage

For a Decade of Sin: 11 Years of Bloodshot Records

12/27/2005:
The Slow Poisoner

Alan Sondheim & Ritual All 770

Davenport

Beaumont

Five Corners Jazz Quintet

Cameron McGill

Drunk With Joy

12/26/2005:
10 Ft. Ganja Plant

The Hospitals

Ross Beach

Big Star

The Goslings

Lair of the Minotaur

Koji Asano



Splendid looks great in Firefox. See for yourself.
Get Firefox!


FEATURES:
Grizzly Bear's Ed Droste probably didn't even know that he'd be the subject of Jennifer Kelly's final Splendid interview... but he is!



DEPARTMENTS:
That Damn List Thing
& - The World Beyond Your Stereo
Bookshelf
Pointless Questions
File Under
Pointless Questions
& - The World Beyond Your Stereo


ARCHIVE:
Read reviews from the last 30, 60, 90 or 120 days, or search our review archive.

It's back! Splendid's daily e-mail update will keep you up to date on our latest reviews and articles. Subscribe now!
Your e-mail address:    
REVIEWS | FEATURES | DEPARTMENTS | BOOMBOX | PODCAST | MISC
SEARCH:
All content ©1996 - 2011 Splendid WebMedia. Content may not be reproduced without the publisher's permission.