Extra Virgin

Olive - Extra Virgin ©1997 RCA/BMG
1. Miracle
2. This Time
3. Safer Hands
4. Killing
5. You're Not Alone
6. Falling
7. Outlaw
8. Blood Red Tears
9. Curious
10. You Are Nothing
11. Muted
12. I Don't Think So

Thanks to a friend deluging me with various electronic and other offbeat choices in music, Olive has now become one of my new favorite bands. Though they are often classified in the "Club" section at the CD store (causing this awful process where I have to skulk in and stealthily snake the CD, so that no one thinks a metal and punk guy like myself would actually venture towards dancey music), Olive shares a lot in common with more atmospheric and ambient oriented bands like Love Spirals Downwards and perhaps Garbage - if you want to really stretch it. The initial song "Miracle" is an instant winner, the type of song that immediately draws you into the album. Using long, sustained, warm electronics, the song is entirely a beautiful listen. Singer Ruth Ann has a wonderful voice, soft but not wispy and capable of truly selling the emotion of love, which many of the lyrics deal with. "You're Not Alone" is a very emotionally uplifting song that can soothe anyone who is separated from their loved one. The lyrics overall are fairly simple, yet they contain a lot of depth. As my friend stated, this is a kind of album one can fall in love to. I admit the latter half of the album gets a bit more "danceable" than I generally prefer but it's a mild complaint. (Sort of like a tiny breeze on a perfect summer day - really not that big of a deal in the scheme of things.) Extra Virgin is nothing more than a wonderful and enchanting album.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 03/2000

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Olive - Trickle ©2000 Maverick
1. Love Affair
2. Trickle
3. I'm Not In Love
4. Smile
5. All You Ever Needed
6. Indulge Me
7. Speak To Me
8. Liberty
9. Push
10. Trust You
11. Creature Of Comfort
12. Beyond The Fray

After being highly impressed with Olive's debut, Extra Virgin, it is hard to regard the sophomore album Trickle as a worthy followup. When an outfit can come with some of the more memorable moments that were found on Extra Virgin, certain expectations of similar brilliance come about. Unfortunately, Trickle fails to a large degree to be anything more than a contemporary, placid and borderline boring followup. More specifically, it's a tired letdown of a group trying to work the same formula as their highly acclaimed debut and simply proving they are unable to recapture the magic.

Don't get me entirely wrong. Trickle is not so vapid that it is unbearable to listen to. Rather, the songs are without the spark and vibrancy of the debut, making it perfect dancefloor fodder for those who feel more inclination to move their body to music than actually feel it at a deeper, profound level. The lyrics deal pretty much entirely with love and relations, but hardly offer anything more than candy store sentiments. The melodies and songs are all catchy in that pop music sort of way, bubblegum and quickly fading flavor. "Liberty" is the obvious "epic" number, incorporating strings and a symphonic sound, and is the only number that even remotely seems fleshed out beyond the basic Olive sound. The rest just dwell in that meaningless void of pleasant pop music. Trickle is definitely not meant for anything more than quick consumption and will leave more demanding listeners wishing for more substance, as they found on Extra Virgin.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 08/2000

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