BRIAN OLIVE's Catalog
Released in 2014, Move skates across the avenues of soul, rock, jazz and psych rock in wonderful and exciting ways. Olive serves up a heady mix of groove and rhythm, galvanized by his sense of timeliness and timelessness, punctuated by his ever-expanding expertise in the studio.
Two of everything
On his second solo album, former Greenhornes and Soledad Brothers guitarist Brian Olive once again offers an eclectic variety of R&B-based sounds, but his approach has changed just a bit. For Two of Everything, Olive enlisted the production expertise of Dan Auerbach from the Black Keys, and while the album still has a solid, bluesy foundation, the songs here sound cooler and slinkier, with echoes of vintage funk and groove jazz cropping up in the mix, and a good bit more refinement audible in the melodies and performances compared to his self-titled debut. Two of Everything doesn't sound like Olive has turned his back on his blues-based earlier work, but he is veering in a different direction; the results sometimes suggest a Midwestern take on Northern soul as Olive and Auerbach throw just a little pop polish on Olive's vocals and let the pianos and saxophones give the music a subtle but distinct retro feel, even as the steady pulse of several tunes nods politely to hip-hop. But even as Two of Everything travels down a smoother road than its precursor, it still sounds organic, committed, and heartfelt, and Olive sure knows how to write a memorable tune; "Strange Attracter" faces a chunky, T. Rex-style guitar figure against an insistent piano-and-drum pattern that fills up the dance floor; "Black Sliding Soul" suggests an unlikely but effective collaboration between NRBQ and Mark Ronson; "Left Side Rock" bounces hard Southern funk rhythms off aggressive horn samples, and "Lost in Dreams" is a beautifully languid bit of stoned soul love pleading. With Two of Everything, Brian Olive is two for two in making smart, distinctive albums that push his blues and R&B influences in unexpected, compelling directions, matching and building on the strength of his debut. - Mark Deming, AllMusic.com
Brian Olive used to deliver potent garage rock guitar with the Greenhornes and blues-punk sax hollering with the Soledad Brothers, but he's expanded his sonic palette in a big way on his first solo album. Most of the tunes on Brian Olive are rooted in rhythm & blues in one way or another, but the man sure isn't shy about showing how many ways he can bend the sound to his will; "Stealin'" is a funky New Orleans second-line shuffle, "Jubilee Line" has a bassline James Jamerson would have been happy to call his own fortified with free jazz sax wailing, "High Low" reveals echoes of 1950s cool jazz for bachelor pads, and "Killing Stone" is a piano-based rocker that recalls the early-'70s Rolling Stones. Olive also dips his toes into breezy faux-tropicalia on the light and sensuous "Echoing Light" and some tripped-out acoustic psychedelia on "There Is Love." Olive clearly scores high on the eclecticism checklist, but he's also a fine songwriter, generating memorable tunes regardless of his stylistic bag, and he's put together a solid backing band for these sessions (including fellow Greenhornes Jared McKinney and Craig Fox and ex-Heartless Bastards Mike Weinel), and if his vocals aren't always as strong as the arrangements that surround them (he sounds more comfortable on the quieter numbers than the ones where he needs to belt it out), he has the right feel if not always the proper degree of force. Overall, Brian Olive is an impressive and pleasing solo debut that shows his chops as a producer, arranger, and songwriter make him more than just some Midwest sideman, and he should get back into the studio posthaste if there's more where this came from. Mark Deming, AllMusic.com