It’s been a hot minute since I’ve reviewed an album while also enjoying a fine beverage. In for review today is Odesza’s newest offering, The Last Goodbye. It seems like only a few years ago that Odesza entered the scene with their freshman album and became a sensation; I still find myself enjoying their previous albums!
Anyways, let’s get things moving.
I like to take a quick moment to talk about the system used. It’s pretty standard fare tonight. On the front-end side, I’m using my trusty Rega RP10 with Apheta cartridge and Aria MKI phono-stage. I’d love to upgrade to the latest Aphelion and Aura, but that’s for another day.
Further up the chain, we get to my reference Rega Osiris integrated. Even after all the components I’ve listened to over the years, I still come back to this fella when I’m in need of a solid state amplifier. Connected to the Osiris is a pair of Q Acoustics Concept 500 flagship loudspeakers. I’ve had these in for a while and am nearing the end of my review with them.
Music, Music, Music
Prior to listening to the vinyl, I had several playthru’s of the digital version via Qobuz, so I felt I had a good sense for what to expect. Or, at least, that’s what I thought.
The opening track is “This Version of You”. Before the vocals started, I can say without a doubt that the vinyl left me with an impression of even inkier blacks compared to the digital version. While it didn’t seem to reach as low, the quieter noise floor more than made up for it.
If I had to sum up the vocalist, Julianna Barwick, in one phrase… it would be that vinyl becomes her. I know a lot of that sparkle has to do with vinyl, but her vocal range is in that sweet spot for me and my system. I had goosebumps throughout the entire first track!
The second track is “Wide Awake”, featuring Charlie Houston. His voice is so interesting. Setting aside the actual music, I found myself wanting more lyrically from this track. Okay, now back on track.
The real star of the track was the melody. Unlike the digital version, it seemed to bounce between Charlie – it was quite mesmerizing. I honestly could listen to it for hours and still be in awe at the end.
Love Letter and the following “Behind the Sun” left me a bit wanting overall. Don’t get me wrong, I was still enthralled. But… that slight loss of low end extension was felt here compared to digital.
Time to flip the record!
“Forgive me” is a bombastic start to the side. Its melody doesn’t rely on pure base extension to carry it along.
Moving onto Better Now. This is one of my favorite tracks on the album. Compared to the digital version, the vinyl sees the vocalist, MARO, just float in front of the speakers. It truly felt like a personal concert compared to a great recording.
Onto side C!
On to the title track, The Last Goodbye. Everytime I listen to this track, I’m somewhat reminded of ODESZA’s last album. It’s not totally similar, but not completely foreign either. At the same time, listening to this puts me in deep thought about whether this will (or not) be the last we hear from the ODESZA project.
Anyways, back to the music!
All My Life caught me by surprise on the record. As my wife would put it, the bass sweeps/transitions in the opening just hit different compared to the digital version. No better way to put it really.
Just like the rest of this side, Equal was a pleasure to listen to. I think the magic of vinyl was put on full effect here as the vocals had a bit of sparkle and separation that made me put down my pen and just close my eyes. I didn’t get this with the digital version unfortunately.
I was quite pleased with side C. Onto the last side.
The only track I want to really talk about on this side is the closer, “Light of Day”, featuring Ólafur Arnalds. In an album filled with lots of energy, this track does a good job of bringing a little bit of calm at the end before ending. I think it’s interesting that, by the time I got to this track in the digital version of the album, I had mostly checked out. The album just couldn’t keep my attention. But that isn’t so with the vinyl. Not only did it hold my attention, but this final track is a bit of a star.
The Album In Review
I’ll keep this section short. It’s not often that I find an (electronic) album that is so two-faced when it comes to the digital and analog versions.
The digital version hit deeper and harder with the base lines, but the analog just keeps your attention from beginning to end. It was truly a pleasure to listen to in comparison.
About the Beer
This one takes me back and felt appropriate. Just like The Last Goodbye may be the final release from Odesza, this can of Brunch Money comes from one of the final batches to be brewed by Armadillo Aleworks in Denton, TX before shutting down due to financial issues brought about by the closures brought about by COVID-19.
But, how does this fine beverage taste? Just that, fine! I’ve always thought of it as breakfast in a can. The syrup comes through nicely – especially as it warms up – and compliments the rest of the profile by giving a bit of sweetness.
It will be sad when I run out of this stock completely. I’m hoping this beer will be resurrected someday.