The first time I heard the band Oh, Rose, a four-piece out of Olympia, I found myself laughing out loud, stupefied, more than a little delighted, and exclaiming to anyone within earshot: “Where the hell did that come from?”
At that moment I was listening to “Seven,” the title track of the band’s 2016 album, when about halfway through the melodic tune — mesmerized by singer Olivia Rose’s quiet refrain of “my need to please” — something dramatic happens: Rose explodes with a throat-shredding scream so grimy and wild that I peeped at my phone to verify that it was still indeed the same song, that it hadn’t somehow jumped to the next track.
Yes, it was the same song, but Rose wasn’t quiet anymore, dropping her “need to please” in favor of fearless defiance, shouting now, “It’s been a lot of standing up / Hey I’ve been down before.”
Turns out, Rose’s voice swings playfully throughout the band’s entire catalog, at times sweet and loving before taking dramatic left turns. Her range — from droney and tender to blood-boiling — brings to mind hints of Dolores O’Riordan of the Cranberries, adding drama and surprise to otherwise solid, dreamy rock songs. And live on stage, Rose somehow pulls off the same trick, managing to be both intimidating and vulnerable as she showed during a set at this year’s Volume festival.
On Friday, the band released its latest album, While My Father Sleeps, which I’ve had on heavy rotation ever since. It’s worth a listen — or 10 — with singles “25, Alive” (below) and “Baby” standing out along with the toe-tapping “Easy,” fuzzy, bass-heavy “You Got Fire,” and the moody “Water.”
The band is currently on tour in support of the new album with shows in Seattle (Sept. 8) and Portland (Oct. 10).