Jake Hertzog: Oberon
Jake Hertzog (guitar)
Chromatosphere (That's Out Records TOR 001)
Recorded: West Orange, NJ, October 2008
Rating: 89/100 (learn more)
Opening with an electronically enhanced repetitive guitar line that infectiously provides the song's rhythmic underpinnings, Jake Hertzog weaves a hypnotic melody with an almost medieval sensibility that could easily be mistaken for part of Jethro Tull's repertoire.
Oberon was king of the fairies and a character in Shakespeare's A Midsummer's Night Dream. In this self-penned composition, Hertzog creates a sound impressionistically consistent with its title, while simultaneously blurring the lines between genres. His guitar riffs are apparently overdubbed atop his own rhythm guitar playing, the electric bass of Harvie S and the snappy drums and crashing cymbals of Victor Jones.
"Oberon" has a whimsical, singsong beauty that provides a wonderful vehicle for Hertzog's deftly alternating picked solo lines, done in time with Harvie's bass, and seamlessly integrated chord-based runs. Within this deceptively simple context, Hertzog demonstrates a lithe, lyrical technique, rendering this unusual format accessible. You can almost see fairies leaping through the forest to the rhythm of his guitar.
Jones is accorded a brief, somewhat heavy-handed solo where he trades hard-hitting tom shots with alternating snare rolls, finishing with crashing cymbals before the song returns to the repeating melody and a crisp finale.
Reviewer: Ralph A. Miriello