Some voices crawl under your skin the moment you hear them, and that can be either frightening or exhilarating. Lee Harvey Osmond is one of those such voices, and it’s nearly impossible to nail down how it can make you feel, but I’m going to give it my best shot.
Beautiful Scars walks the musical tightrope between country, folk, rock, and blues. Elements of all those genres weave in and out of stories dealing with heartbreak, hope, and all that lies between.
Topping the album off is “Loser Without Your Love”, which for me immediately felt like a step-brother to “Red Right Hand” by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Both feel dangerous, dark, and like they are the nightly soundtrack to a David Lynch dinner theater. “Oh the Gods” and “Hey Hey Hey” also follow this trend, while “How Does It Feel” slides into the realm of Leonard Cohen (a la “Nobody Knows”). His voice slips underneath your guard and rests behind your eyes, like he’s talking to you in a waking dream.
Picking up the pace, “Planet Love” layers in some surreal effects, including what sounds like an old door slowly shutting. It comes together like a theme song for all the anti-heroes we see getting popular today, like Daredevil and Jessica Jones on Netflix. Also, there’s “Shake the Hand” roaming onto the album like a classic Chevy convertible barreling down a dusty old highway, beaten up ragtop flapping in the wind.
“Blue Moon Drive” is the darkest song on the album. It made me feel like I was sitting in the most dangerous tiki bar in Los Angeles surrounded by pinstripes and switchblades. Definitely recommend listening to this on a really good pair of headphones. Only slightly less intense is “Black Spruce,” but Osmond’s vocals here sound like someone making a deal with the devil – deep, gravely, like they’ve been dragged through the dirt and dust of a long life.
Rounding the album out and also bringing in the hope and longing, “Bottom of Our Love” and “Dreams Come and Go” are closer to true country songs. Touches of old Bob Dylan simmer to the top in the way Osmond weaves the stories to the music.
Beautiful Scars is like nothing out there right now. If you’re a fan of Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, or the movies of David Lynch and Jim Jarmusch, this is the album for you. It’s deep, powerful and strangely seductive.[amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00T3UE4DC]