Beware the first couple cuts of this CD (which are terrible!), 'cause if you take them as signatory of the entire release, you're going to miss some extremely interesting music. John O'Mara was half of the duet Fuzzmonkey and then decided he had his own gig to satisfy, striking out to thrust himself into headier zones. Once the third cut, Hold Me Down, begins, you start to get a taste of that, especially when the mellow ballad cranks into some hellaciously distorted guitar…and this guy can pull out very cool riffs, trust me. At various times throughout the CD, I was reminded of Celtic Frost's insanely twisted lead player, though Five Year Mission is by no means in the same ballpark.
By the time Drowning, the fifth selection, rolls around, O'Mara really opens up and shows what he's made of. A lush echoey track, very progressive, it, as the title implies, drags the listener under the waves and shows him a new world of sad billowing melancholy. Every cut thereafter remains in that gauzily laconic milieu and hypnotizes the audient like bird to snake. The Broken Part becomes slowed-down shoegaze building into majestic skies before collapsing back to the ground and reverie. Fear of Mass Transit is equally gorgeous, classicalism infused within folk, above which O'Mara launches killer John Lees (Barclay James Harvest) lead lines.
Morgan Grace duets with O'Mara on I Saw You in a Spanishly inflected cut, perfectly counterpointing his breathy vocals, adding the sweet courtly eroticism of unrequited attraction alongside his desire. The song is way too short—it should've been a grand suite of 7-10 minutes with much interplay—but is still magnetic even in its brevity. Deep into the CD, you'll be hearing Angelo Badalamenti influences and what sounds a lot like Gary Lucas and Karen Orsi touches, as well as wedges of Radiohead, but John O'Mara, this disc makes inarguably evident, is a very distinctive cat and threatens to be a remarkable force if he can develop all the killer material here even further. Thus, as I've warned, trash the opening pair of tracks, go right to the third, and let Five Year Mission grab you by the cerebellum and then on into the darksome night—I guarantee you'll relish the ride and be jonesing for more.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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