Anders/O’Bitz are the amazing songwriting duo of Eric Anders and Mark O’Bitz, and the new EP – This Mortal Farce, is their fourth release together, and Anders’ 11th release over the years, as he is the more professionally experienced of the two excellent musicians. The new release is based on four tracks that were not for their current 2020 album – American Bardo, because when they recorded it the tracks had nothing to do with the it is based on so this is a separate release and a very well written, produced and arranged set of tunes which turned out to be a great addition to the album, although it is completely separated.
These players are brilliant, that is the first thing to be said after not being familiar with them before hearing these four soothing tracks which do intrigue me about this fabulous songwriting duo and I will be seeking out all of their work. Each song deserves its own write up, so rather than go over their history which can be found at their website, the songs are enough to describe because they’re lush and the melodies are fantastic, the lyrics are great and the tunes are overall mellow but also very complex.
The first thing I noticed was an overall familiarity to the sound of “There’s No Changin’,” and it falls somewhere between the easy listening variety of 70s soft rock and a mature version of 80s romantic techno pop. And that is not to be confused with smooth jazz or anything, it’s more of an acoustic roots meets modern rock sound which is not exactly easy to put to words, but Americana music is where these ends really meet. This is more evident when you hear the second track, as the wonderful “Comes And Goes” does just that, but not without producing a good memory, especially once the excellent slide guitar solo kicks in.
These songs are undeniably catchy but also very deep and that’s a difficult thing to achieve in music, but I instantly discovered their magic and it was over for me. “Old Eyes” plays like an old friend you have been longing for but haven’t heard from in ages. The music has that appeal throughout This Mortal Farce. And this is where it gets the most sentimental, even though it would take more time to really know where Anders’ mind was at the time of writing these songs but they’re more love based than the album they’re separated from.
“Seen So Much” is the magnum opus of this collection of gems, with a beautifully haunting and mesmerizing closer, complete with organ outro and some other bits not to be heard on the previous cuts. This is like a Calgon moment if I were to really describe it, as is the whole EP, it’s a shot in the arm of relaxation and intense musical enjoyment released in a time when there has never been so much need for what music has the power to do and that is heal and bring people together.