Ola Podrida Ghosts Go Blind


You wouldn’t be alone if you were previously unaware of a local Austin band by the name of Ola Podrida. Until just recently I had never even heard the name myself, so imagine my surprise when I discovered that their forthcoming LP Ghosts Go Blind was actually their 3rd. Ola Podrida’s first two albums (the self-titled Ola Podrida and Belly of the Lion) were what you might call “bedroom” recordings as opposed to full-band studio affairs. On Ghosts Go Blind however front man David Wingo has taken a break from his film score work (including 2011’s Take Shelter and the upcoming Mud and Prince Avalanche) to assemble and collaborate in a more traditional manner with his Austin-based band and the results are telling.

Full of lovelorn melancholy and gray sky wistfulness, Ghosts Go Blind sets a palpable mood early on and maintains it throughout. While sad bastard music for sure, Ola Podrida are far from mopey. With a voice like Neil Young crossed with Morrissey, David Wingo’s vocals along with the band’s up-tempo rhythm had me conjuring images of The Smiths more than once. It’s a poppy take on sad sackery that still manages to rock. Lead off track “Not Ready to Stop” proves this statement right up front with jangly, angsty guitars and driven rhythm underscoring Wingo’s lament for false starts and lonely nights. Late album rocker “Speed of Light” is almost blissful, counterweighting “Not Ready to Stop”’s lament with a sort of anxious trepidation.

Ola Podrida - 'Staying In'

Perhaps the album’s strongest moment comes right in the middle with “Staying In”. Built on a twinkly guitar riff backed by a determined drum beat, this track is as heartfelt a plea for spending a night in with just TV, beer, and cigarettes as you’re ever likely to hear. If we’re sticking with The Smiths comparison, then this is Ghosts Go Blind’s “There is a Light that Never Goes Out.”

If I can levy one criticism at Ola Podrida on this release it would be that many of the tracks on this album have a very samey quality about them. If you’re not paying attention to the nuance of Wingo’s lyrics, it’s very easy to get lost in Ghosts Go Blind’s sound. While the combination of jangly single string picking and even rhythm along with Wingo’s mid-range vocals is beautiful, it doesn’t deviate much from song to song, which I can see some people getting bored with. If you’re not looking for singles however and you’re the kind of person who can appreciate an album’s worth of music on its merits as a whole, Ghosts Go Blind is a great listen and I’d definitely recommend checking it out.

Ola Podrida’s Ghosts Go Blind will be released April 30th from Western Vinyl.

-Brian Audette