Onalaska - To Sing For Nights (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


To Sing For Nights (2002)

Dim Mak

Onalaska is the perfect example of why you shouldn't bill bands as "ex/current members of blahblahblah," as is done in their bio. Members of this Northwestern supergroup include Brian Cook of Botch, Erin Tate and Corey Murchy [both from Kill Sadie and Minus The Bear], and Jake Snyder of Minus The Bear and Sharks Keep Moving. Now immediately I'm thinking this is some sort of crazy math-rock inspired hardcore powerhouse with a tinge of emo for good measure.

I was wrong, and how.

Onalaska is the brainchild of "Tornado" Tom Harpel, and you tend to get the feeling that pretty much anyone could be recruited into his backing band, regardless of what their musical past is. The reason being is, these 8 songs aren't anything like the bands mentioned prior. Instead, they are slow ballads about drinking, travelling, and women. Harpel's lyrics seem to go for a bit of a lover's lament style, and comes off a bit ironic at times. It's not perfect, but it fits the music well.

Speaking of the music - you'll find no Botch or Minus The Bear influences here. Each song coasts by with minimal instrumentational effort, until the crescendo of the last chorus [as evidenced in "Other Cities Women" and "El Raval"]. Other songs seem to be almost interludes, like "Entrada." It's comforting music, but the CD usually ends before you even realize it's past the first few songs.

If you're looking for a disc to help you unwind, I'd recommend this. Fans of the Weakerthans more laid back material would also appreciate this [or, for a more obscure reference, think Boxstep or Mojave 3]. And lastly, the band does deserve credit for posting the entire album in MP3 form on their webpage [you can download each song below].

Blue Reno
El Raval
Official Tickets
You Should Ride Horses
Other Cities Women
Sailors Friend