If you have only heard ‘Okinawa' by Oho, then you'll be shocked at the absolute about face that both ‘Bricolage' and their "Up" CD present to the world. I can't think of another band that has changed their style so drastically. I don't know the reason but I suspect it had to do with either staying in semi obscurity, or attempting to make some money at their craft.
Oho has gone from avant/psycho/psychedelic/prog rock to an almost Top 40 female fronted pretty music. It's not all commercial sounding but be warned that a couple of songs here do sound like Pat Benatar ( listen to "Close But No Cigar") and Stevie Nicks. The rest, thankfully, are more closely in the Maggie Reilly, Iona, Blackmore's Night, Clannad, and older British folk rock bands of 70's like Mellow Candle etc.
The music is very easy on the ears with lots of violin, finger picked strings, and modern electric pop production. ‘Bricolage" flirts with techno pop, mainstream female rock, and crosses over from a more folk rock to a slick MOR pop throughout the 20 songs. It's not in bad taste, nor is it weak or boring. The more prog folk songs are what makes this CD really special though. It depends entirely on the listener, whether or not the more commercial pop songs are a good or bad thing. One thing for sure, Oho sobered up and now writes music safe enough for your grandmother and children. In fact, Jay and one of the female singers go to what appears to be a 1st or 2nd grade elementary school class to perform "The Secret" live for the kids on last cut of the bonus DVD included. All in all, the band has grown up now and become responsible adults and parents.
Speaking of the DVD. It is not a live version of the CD. Many of the songs were not even on the original CD issue, but they did add those songs ( studio version ) to the bonus tracks of this new reissue pack. It's a fairly nice DVD with a mix of short interviews, videos, and various live appearances with a couple of little comical touches. Seeing the band live removes some of the mystique ( esp. if you are still thinking about "Okinawa" and any of their other more abstract releases ). This band is still a large group of musicians that enjoy whatever type music they are doing. While not all a great quality sound or filming, some of it is every bit as good as ETV gigs like Austin City Limits and Sound Stage. As for the performances, the dark haired female singer seemed awkward on stage and did better in the videos. Most live selections were late 80's and 1990 shows. Some of it is homemade video which isn't much to look at or listen to. The 2nd female vocalist begins with "Angels" and is much more comfortable and seemingly experienced as front woman for the band.
Overall, this entire package is nice. The DVD is excellent for the curious, and partially nice for entertainment. The videos ‘Danger & Play" and "Controlled Substance" are real good. and professionally done. The CD is full of very pleasant songs and you get 7 bonus songs in this reissued version. If you like this one, pick up their CD called "Up' as well.
Reviewed by Lee Henderson on September 23rd, 2010