Olivia Jean – Raving Ghost
Released earlier this year, Olivia Jean’s Raving Ghost is an album that sees the darkly fashionable rocker cutting loose and really having fun after two plus years of the pandemic. We have the catchy guitar riffs and cherry-picked retro song styles Olivia has always successfully employed, but now we have some choice synth sounds added into the mix, expanding her sonic palette and creating an interesting and exciting aural mash-up. Utilizing a core band of seasoned players, Olivia brings us along on a fascinating late-night journey where we meet a cast of interesting characters throughout these 11 songs, including one that imagines if Enya decided to pick up a guitar and walk on the wild side. Ok, that’s not what the song is about, but Olivia’s cover of Enya’s Orinoko Flow is something that shouldn’t work, but surprisingly does. This album goes from sleazy to manic to almost bouncy and beyond and is a solid argument for the strength of albums over singles.
I remember first learning of Olivia from the single her band (The Black Belles) created with Stephen Colbert and the silly photoshoot they did for that release. Since then she’s struck out on her own and I’ve really grown to enjoy her musical output. She has a unique style that has range and her versatility allows her to work well in a variety of settings beyond rock and roll. She clearly studies her influences closely and is an excellent example of someone who can effortlessly apply what she’s learned from those who came before and truly make it her own.