Album review: The Ophelias release fantastical new album ‘Crocus’ this Friday Sept 24

With almost supernatural emotion and complexity, this album shows a newfound confidence from the band’s period of growth and change.

The Breakdown

Joyful Noise Recordings 8.0

Ohio four-piece The Ophelias release the highly-anticipated, expansive album Crocus this Friday, September 24 via Joyful Noise Recordings. This wonderous collection of songs comes two years after breakthrough album Almost, which saw the group make a mark delivering some caliginous themes with their trademark, indie-pop lustre. Crocus manages to retain that great kind of complexity, whilst revelling in a newfound confidence that wholly demonstrates the band’s growth and change.

Through tracks that are infused as much with Biblical references as they are with elements of The Twilight Zone, The Ophelias at times manage to bring a supernatural kind of emotion to the music they create. “As a collective we cover a lot of musical ground, in that we individually listen to a wide range of music,” drummer Mic Adams says. “There are differences in what the songs in Crocus mean to all of us, and we incorporate elements of ourselves and our own stylistic tendencies into each song.”

The Ophelias contrast lyrical clarity with full and fruitful arrangements that include strings, horns, wind and synths to already robust musical compositions. This kind of community collaboration (many musicians featured on the album are trusted friends) flourishes on tracks such as The Twilight Zone and ‘Becoming a Nun‘, where every instrument seems to be utilized but without losing a powerful sense of intimacy.

First single from the album Neil Young on High (featuring Julien Baker), saw a collaboration with critically acclaimed Julien Baker. Vocalist and guitarist Spencer Peppet explains: “We met Julien for the first time in 2019 at a show we played in Nashville. I worked up the nerve to ask if she wanted to feature on a song from the album… She recorded her parts in Tennessee- her harmonies reinvigorated the song completely: she added lightness, openness, but also depth and complexity. It’s incredibly cool that she put so much care into those parts.”

The band recorded at night in a converted and “2000 percent haunted” Masonic lodge in Dayton, Kentucky, which seems to have beautifully affected the album’s darker, eerie tones. The opening title track Crocus is testament to this, with Gutmann Fuentes’ violin mirroring the waves and crests of the song, underscoring the lyrics with layered and precise arrangements.

“As a collective we cover a lot of musical ground, in that we individually listen to a wide range of music. Even between the four of us, we have our own distinct sensibilities that set us apart from one another. There are differences in what the songs in ‘Crocus’ mean to all of us, and we incorporate elements of ourselves and our own stylistic tendencies into each song.” -Mic Adams

After 2018’s critically acclaimed Almost opened The Ophelias to a world beyond Cincinnati, the indie rock quartet craved a return to a sense of community. Now living in different cities, the band members had all graduated college, Shaffer joined as the new bassist, while Adams came out as transgender and started HRT. So once recording began on Crocus, The Ophelias purposefully focused on that experimental, communal spirit that fueled their first record.

An album of beautiful lyrical clarity and lush arrangements, The Ophelias’ growth has been marked — so much has been transformed and rebuilt. Like an eager reintroduction of themselves to the world, vocalist/guitarist Spencer Peppet, bassist Jo Shaffer, drummer Mic Adams and violinist Andrea Gutmann Fuentes have built Crocus as a safe haven, with trust, love, and the assuredness that comes with growing up: “Crocus represents that state of flux, between dreaming and reality or internal reflection and external action,” Peppet says. “I had to wring this all out of my chest and doing that is very vulnerable. But being in a band with such a strong sense of community, trust, care, and love makes that process a lot easier.”

Pre-order Crocus HERE

Out this Friday, September 24 via Joyful Noise Recordings

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