The Olympic Symphonium - More in Sorrow Than in Anger (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Olympic Symphonium

More in Sorrow Than in Anger (2008)

Forward Music Group

The back cover to the Olympic Symphonium's More in Sorrow Than in Anger features a robot holding a monkey. Hell. Yes. The songs contained within are pretty good, occasionally evoking Jim James, both with and without My Morning Jacket, Wilco at their quietest, and that Canadian indie sound (Canindie? Canindien?) that's been coming from up north for a while now. But seriously, there's a robot holding a monkey. It's like the future and the past getting all types of snuggly.

"You Win Some, You Lose Some" opens the 10-song, 39-minute full-length. It's a brief instrumental that showcases the band's M.O. -- pretty acoustic guitar chords, twinkling piano, a warm feeling despite the sparse arrangements. The band repeats this trick nine more times with feeling (and vocals). "Intentions Alone" adds an alt-country element à la Nickel Creek, albeit in a much lighter way. The sound lends the record an introspective air, perfect for the transition from fall to winter.

If there's a knock against the record, it's that it can get repetitive after a while. It's quiet and contemplative or bust, and while the band incorporates a few musical guests, the variety is still minimal. That's not to say that any of the songs are failures, though. During my first listen, I found myself bored by the album's midpoint. Having since listened to the tracks out of order, though, I've found that tracks five and seven, "Blood from a Stone" and "Dead Man's Inn," respectively, are my favorite songs on the album. Of course, that opens the band to another criticism: "Blood from a Stone" is not a Hooters cover. Oh well, no one's perfect.

More in Sorrow isn't exactly a party record, but it can make for a rewarding listen, especially when broken up into smaller segments. Songs like "Oh My Dear" and "Side by Side" have a gentle, twangy disposition, and a little bit of that can go a long way.

Robot holding a monkey!