There’s a tendency for many to underestimate those artists who choose to ‘strip back’ as lacking complexity. Conny Ochs’ latest offering, Future Fables, is certainly stripped back, but it definitely isn’t simple. Full of rich, emotional depths, solid songwriting and nods to its varied influences, it’s accessible for casual listeners, but considerably more rewarding for repeated spins.
Opening with warm, silky bass and tapping snare, overlayed with dreamy electric guitars, Hole is a meandering and relaxed turn, sun-dappled and driven by Ochs’ honest vocal delivery. There’s somewhat of a sense that the instruments are doing their own thing, but are united by stylistic purpose, growing with and around one another organically, never breaching the gentle rhythm. Piece Of Heaven demands attention; a brittle electric guitar flourish is pushed aside by restrained-yet-driving drums and a big bass presence. It’s a faster paced head-nodder, with hook laden riffs bursts of bluesy harmonica.
Killer is wearier, a single vocal lane and finger clicks accompanying the retro guitar lick – it’s like the restrained mid-album caesura before a Rolling Stones belter. Spin showcases Ochs’ flair for folk, with a satisfyingly jangly acoustic guitar tone and sumptuous vocal layering. Empire sees things take a slight country turn, punchy acoustic chords meeting and converging with bass and percussion to swell the track towards its end.
Golden Future kicks in with brooding bass before light, airy, acoustic guitar pitches in. Slide lives up to its name, a slide-focussed guitar track pulled straight from the dusty South. Big piano chords punctuate things, and Ochs offers up arguable the most satisfying riff of the record. No Easy Way rolls with railroad like ease, the smooth rhythm coaxed along by snare shuffles and bright guitar shimmers. Fools has a slight Indie quirk to its descending guitar riff, and Strange Alchemy’s bittersweet chord progression captures the mood perfectly. Make Some Room wraps things up with ardent vocal layering, and a treacly thick, dark sweetness, fading out on a held piano chord.
Future Fables achieves that rare honour of transcending the genre-bias of the listener – no matter your taste, if you appreciate music that is evocative and well-wrought, you will find something to love about Ochs’ latest offering. He has a deft, light touch – he creates the effect of elegant simplicity, whilst engendering impressive depths. This, put simply, is beautiful.
Scribed by: Jay Hampshire