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CD REVIEW: John Oszajca - Elephant Graveyard

by: Cyrus Rhodes



"John Oszajca rocks the house"






Artist/Band: John Oszajca

Album: Elephant Graveyard
Dreamy Draw

Website: http://www.johnoszajca.com/

Genre: Psychedelic Rock, Alternative Rock, Punk, Indie Rock, Blues
Sounds Like: Beck, Cake, Todd Rundgren, David Byrne, They Might be Giants, The Flaming Lips

Technical Grade: 9/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 10/10
Commercial Value: 10/10
Overall Talent Level: 10/10
Songwriting Skills: 10/10
Performance Skill: 10/10
Best Songs: No Turning Back, Baby Bye Bye, Blues for Susan

Weakness:  None



The music of John Oszajca immediately strikes the listener as an emotionally honest and purging album, and as a celebration of John’s life-long country/folk influences such as Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, and Hank Williams, just to name a few. In the past Oszajca has been known for his wild stage antics, confetti guns, Mariachi bands, scantily dressed back-up singers. John even once had an impersonator perform on his behalf. But much in the way that ELEPHANT GRAVEYARD is a return to John’s roots so too is his live performance in support of this new album. In his own words: “The show will be much more intimate than some of the ones in the past. For the most part it will just be me and a drummer with the occasional accompaniment of perhaps an accordion or even a fiddle player. But one of my favorite things is to just be up on stage alone, just me and my guitar.” 


The CD quickly takes to flight with jumpy intro piece “The Day I Died”.” This song serves up infectious rocked out musical ambience against mesmerizing vocals, hypnotic Americana-Blues guitar, well placed harmonies and driving rock rhythm that gently leads you by the hand down the path of trippy musical indulgence. Track 2 “Baby Bye Bye” shifts gears a bit with its methodical intro, trippy alternative-folk rock vibe and infectious vocal flair from Oszajca meshed against impressive groove and well placed slide guitar. Track 3 “Where’s Bob Dylan When you need Him” is an impressive surf-rock-blues-folk piece that is full of musical peaks and valleys, impressive groove that flows and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition. By track 3 this CD hits solid stride delivering many impressive songs back to back. As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear many musical influences reminiscent of a classic Beck, Cake, David Bowie, Rolling Stones, Todd Rundgren, David Byrne. ON the other side of the sonic spectrum I can also hear brief flashes of The Beach Boys, The Beatles, They Might be Giants” and even The Flaming Lips. I would classify this music as trippy blues-based singer/songwriter, Alternative Rock with a fun and eccentric Psychedelic, Indie College Rock aftertaste. The CD at times presents brilliant peak and valley flow via a strong artistic perspective from Oszajca behind the mic. Besides the four piece standard you will also notice rich layers of organ, melodic soundscapes, rhythm guitar, organ, solo guitar, lush harmonies, keyboards and organ, low end beats, harmonica, sonic vocals, exotic sound effects and enticing melodies - all built on a thick as a brick rhythmic foundation. Oszajca showcases a highly impassioned and infectious singing and writing style that takes no prisoners. His musicianship and compositions are pretty solid across the board as Oszajca is clearly letting it all hang out in a fun way with these pieces. All production aspects check out. CD possesses solid low end punch and crystal clear high end clarity. Oszajca has an effective baritone and all harmonies are effective and well placed. At times his voice reminds me a bit of David Bowie, Mick Jagger or even a male version of Cheryl Crow. From psychedelic “No Turning Back” to bluesy “Damn That Woman” and “Blues For Susan” to heartfelt “Sinkin’” to rocking “Big Time” and jumping Ostrich Blues” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 10 “Angalyne” the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.   


Elephant Graveyard by John Oszajca is a trippy, zany, fun, compelling musical journey. This DIY composer, producer, musician, visonary is making waves for himself beyond just music. At the end of the day Oszajca is a musical mastermind and powerful musical force any way you look at him. His strong suit is its amazing producers touch and song for song musical flow. Oszajca gets high marks from me for delivering a captivating yet carefree vibe - nice touch. Elephant Graveyard will be a real joy for those listeners out there who want flowing trippy musical experience to fill their atmosphere. This straight forward, easy to digest musical format makes for a great musical experience many will enjoy. I recommend you just hit play, close your eyes and see where the journey takes you via John Oszajca’s Elephant Graveyard.  


Cyrus Rhodes

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