Halfway To A Threeway
By: Eric G.
After years of experimental deconstruction in bands like Gastr Del Sol, Jim O’Rourke has joined forces with the other side- blatant, unabashed pop music. Halfway To A Threeway is a far cry from O’Rourke’s days of playing the guitar with an electric drill or his output for the Table of the Elements label, but his first foray into the realm of accessible pop was only a few months ago. Eureka was a surprising release for such a renowned experimentalist. The album, of course, wasn’t your average pop record either. He mixed seventies folk with elements of classic rock and even a bit of jazz.
Halfway To A Threeway follows along the same lines as Eureka but is more expansive, drawing out the folk influence. It’s only an EP’s worth of music, but the point comes across plain as day: O’Rourke is a freak with a knack for a catchy tune. “Fuzzy Sun” sounds definitively seventies with its lush, acoustic arrangement, and the lyrics are fretful and slightly on edge. O’Rourke speaks mainly through his guitar playing, which is intricate but serene. “Not Sport, Marital Art” is a complicated instrumental with several personalities, at once melodic and esoteric.
“The Workplace” features guest vocals from fellow Chicago luminaries Sam Prekop and Archer Prewitt both of The Sea And Cake. The song builds from a simple acoustic ballad into an elaborate arrangement of horns, harmonies, and piano, revealing an orchestral bent to O’Rourke’s songwriting. The title track closes the EP, leaving O’Rourke’s inhibitions exposed. The overt sexual overtones are evidently the result of virtual stardom in Japan. Despite the somber tone, Halfway To A Threeway keeps a sense of humor in check while relishing in the excitement of seemingly uncharted waters (at least for O’Rourke).