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COMPILATION APPEARANCES VOL. 2 SONGS RECORDED BETWEEN 1995 AND 1999 ~ THE OHIO YEARS ~
The 2nd Installment in the Lycia Archive series. .. . . From the classic Lycia sound of their Joy Division cover "In A Lonely Place" and the Cold-era reworking of "Everything Is Cold" . . . to the rhythmic and atmospheric feel of the Estrella out-takes "Defective," "Transition" and "The Devil" . . . to the experimental alternate versions of both "Dome" and the Estraya song "The Time Passes Quickly" . . . to live versions of "The Morning Breaks So Cold And Gray" and Bleak's "Grey Clouds" (recorded in Chicago at the 1996 Projekt Festival), these 14 tracks display the amazing diversity of LYCIA's sound.
Beginning with the starkly neo-classical This Brilliant Nighttime (which was released as Snowblind, a side project of Lycia member David Galas, to which Van Portfleet contributed vocals), The Ohio Years churns through We Three Kings onward to an astonishing cover of Joy Division's In A Lonely Place, which positively drips with isolation and dour gloom. A pair of live tracks recorded at the 1996 Projekt Festival showcase Lycia's ability to bring their desolation to life on-stage. While not as quite rich as the studio material (though recorded and mixed brilliantly), The Morning Breaks So Cold And Gray and Grey Clouds still resonate with a sharp sense of introspective longing and a more devastating drum sound. The Ohio Years is also notable for Tara VanFlower's membership in the band and her vocal contributions, particularly on the Estrella out-takes, which were to be part of an alternate versions collection called Strange Star. VanFlower's vocals certainly don't lighten up the music, but rather give another ghostly character to the songs, whether as part of the music in Defective or taking a more prominent place on The Devil. The Estrella session tracks don't match the bleak spledour of earlier material like Clouds In The Southern Sky (Sweeping In Like Waves), and rather has a greater musicality, which pushes Lycia a bit too close to familiar goth territory, though still better than the average gothic outfit. A more recent recording from 1998, The Time Passes Quickly, pairs the signature bleak compositions with the more musical structures found on Estrella. Well assembled, but lacking in feeling, which is rare for Van Portfleet's work. Dome, from an aborted Bleak album, Into The Furnace, is more indicative of the chaotic voids and distorted guitar familiar in Lycia's character, and for those who have worn out their copies of Vane, this track will be an essential.
The Ohio Years truly embraces the unique sound Lycia created, and that this material still sounds current as many as five or six years later shows how strong and personal Van Portfleet and company really were. Both Compilation Appearances are quintessential albums for anyone appreciating darkly structured and intensely emotional music.