Eric Anders and Mark O’Bitz have been quite the songwriting duo over the years. Meanwhile, Variant Blues is the latest installment of what is essentially their pandemic collection of songs. And this latest offering is a microcosm of the human condition under these current conditions – beautifully transposed into song.
Eric Anders & Mark O’Bitz Capture the Times on Variant Blues
As the opening track of ten on Variant Blues, Far Gone is a beautifully poignant, melancholy ballad. Acoustic chords lay the foundation for the ethereal vocals to follow. And right out of the gate, Far Gone channels something one might expect from the likes of Radiohead or The Verve.
Meanwhile, dreamy single notes ring out over the acoustics and vocals to add to that sonic dreamscape mood. In addition, Far Gone touches on the social isolation and themes of loneliness brought on by the global pandemic – in a way that’s both beautiful and broken.
An Acoustic Time Capsule
Eric Anders and Marc O’Bitz continue the acoustic themes on Variant Blues with Oh To Leave Here. And while the follow-up track is considerably more uptempo than the album opener, many of the same themes are present. The dreamy soundscape vibe continues on the record – and there’s even a solo midway through this track.
Overall, even early on, Variant Blues captures a certain theme and mood that’s refreshing to listen to. And perhaps most notable is the fact that even though Anders and O’Bitz deal with heavy subject matter like sadness and isolation, the contrast of those themes alongside major chords and soothing sounds drives that juxtaposition home even harder.
A Sign of the Times
Variant Blues is the latest in a long-running collaboration between Mark O’Bitz and Eric Anders – and it shows. As any musician would tell you, finding musical, creative partnerships that work is a rare thing. And with a few albums under their belt as a duo, Anders and O’Bitz have certainly found their groove.
Anders and O’Bitz are a well-oiled, acoustic-driven machine on Variant Blues. And you only need a few measures to realize that they work together well. In that sense, the proof of that is in the ten tracks that make up Variant Blues. Moreover, even if you’re not a fan of acoustic, stripped-down albums, there’s no denying that Anders and O’Bitz found a winning formula when they decided to make records together – and Variant Blues is no exception.
For all the latest independent music reviews, check back regularly with Screen Legion.