Sometimes when you sit down with an album it's honestly like being invited to a personal therapy session. You ride the highs and lows of emotion with the artist in a very real and raw way. Such is the case with the debut album from New Haven's Jose Oyola.
Jose Oyola (and his band credited now as The Astronauts) has offered up a truly touching collection of songs on Give, Give, Give. Take, Take, Take. There are songs of hope, compassion and redemption of all kinds but there are also introspective moments of love lost and the general fears that life can bring about. But such is the tortured soul of the folk artist. His is the path of honest self-reflection; the path that most people fear to tread because of the weight it carries. Oyola shines brightest in these darkest moments. His cries of 'come back home' on "Lately", for example, may go unheard by the person most in need of hearing it but the rest of us can commiserate with him.
Oyola starts and ends his album with beautiful little interludes. The opener "Giving" is especially full of soaring beauty. It's the perfect tone-setter. There are several lyrical and thematic instances on this album where Oyloa speaks of the sun, the clouds and various celestial bodies. It's almost as if he's begging us to just look up; just forget the fears and demons hiding here on Earth and just take that contemplative moment to watch the clouds move across the landscape the Universe has created for us. We are part of something bigger, no?
In between he spends roughly 25 minutes giving you some of the catchiest indie folk you'll hear. "Struve (Born In The City)" alone is a track that will get stuck in your head for days on end (the good way) and "Peligrosa" is one of a handful of tracks that show off Oyola's unique Latin flair that he seamlessly adds to the songwriting mix. It's one part David Wax Museum and one part Wooden Wand both stirpped down to a simplistic authenticity that most folk music, at its very soul, lacks these days.
You can give the entire album a free go-round on Jose Oyola's Bandcamp page.