Influential Album: Oryx & Crake’s Rebekah Goode-Peoples talks Smog

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This is a special week as we celebrate the upcoming release of Atlanta based Oryx & Crake‘s long awaited sophomore album, Marriage, due out September 25th via Deer Bear Wolf Records. This week each band member has shared an album that has had a major influence on them personally, and subsequently bled into Oryx & Crake’s new album.

Marriage is an album worth celebrating for it’s cinematic structure, ever surprising moments through sound experimenting from the collective, yet woven together tightly never losing the listener. Make no mistake, Marriage is an epic indie rock album crafted by husband and wife Ryan Peoples and Rebekah Goode-Peoples and the band over 4 years, tackling the journey that is marriage, which doesn’t have to be their own marriage or yours, but in a larger sense, real life. We will have more on the album itself in the future leading up to the official release. Check out their latest single “The World Will Take Care Of Me”

With Oryx & Crake’s very special album release show at The EARL in East Atlanta Village this Saturday (details below), we have been leading up to the show with frontman Ryan Peoples discussing an influential Sufjan Stevens album, cellist Matt Jarrard talks Pink Floyd, violinist Karyn Lu speaking on Zoe Keating, drummer Erich Netherton on Primus and bassist Keith Huff’s pick of NOFX.

In the last installment with Oryx & Crake’s influential albums, Rebekah Goode-Peoples gives an amazing look at an album that’s had a huge impact on her, and how it’s directly intertwined to their upcoming album, Marriage: Rebekah’s pick:

Smog – A River Ain’t Too Much to Love

Oryx & Crake's Rebekah Goode-Peoples influential album: Smog - River Ain't Too Much to Love

Oryx & Crake’s Rebekah Goode-Peoples influential album: Smog – River Ain’t Too Much to Love

The epigraph on Marriage is a stanza from Smog’s A River Ain’t Too Much To Love.

Because there is not love

Where there is no obstacle

And there is no love

Where there is no bramble

There is no love

On the hacked away plateau

And there is no love

In the unerring

And there is no love

On the one true path

This sums up both romantic love and religious faith to me, forms of commitment we explore on the album. There is no fairy tale. There is no “one true path.” Everyone has to find her own way to make life meaningful.

While I’ve always felt Bill Callahan to be a swoon-worthy lyricist, and A River Ain’t Too Much To Love is an old favorite, Ryan and I found ourselves listening to this album a bit obsessively during the last year. Marriage was finished and going through the mastering and manufacturing processes that led up to the release, so we had time to listen and reflect on the story we tried to tell as well as notice many connections between the two albums.

All the words in our lyrics mean something real, to me anyway. On “The Well,” which was definitely influenced by Smog’s song of the same name, as well as Haruki Murakami’s “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle,” we visit a total low-point, the abyss of Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey. Sings Callahan, “I guess everybody has their own thing / That they yell into a well.” You gotta go to the dark places of yourself to get back out and find a joyful space. Everyone, even the perfect-looking people, has their dark places, demons as individual as fingerprints.

The journey into the well is difficult. Exploring insecurity, anger and shame are hard. But without that journey, life doesn’t really happen. There is only dull purgatory and going through the motions. In that journey, you can look at things for what they are, clear away the meaningless crap, and find the things that turn you on and hold your heart.

The fundamentalist church I attended as a child was where I first learned about commitment, both the attractive and the terrifying sides, and there is no shortage of religious references on both albums.  On “Running on the Loping,” Callahan sings, “All we need is here on earth / About every other day.”  And like deeply held religious faith, the ability to tie yourself to another human being in marriage, while attractive and seemingly secure, is almost completely unreasonable and unsustainable. But it works sometimes. About every other day. And maybe that’s enough.

Smog’s album ends in a still place on “Let Me See the Colts:” “We walked out through / The dew dappled brambles / And sat upon the fence / Is there anything as still as sleeping horses.” It’s ok to be on the fence. The fence is a place of peace. A place of seeing both sides and all the possibilities before you.

For Ryan and I, our still place of peace is our sleeping children. We go to peek at them at night and kiss their warm cheeks, their breathing regular and full, just like us. And then we go downstairs, Ryan picks up the guitar, and we write songs like “The Road.”

And as my Opa used to say, “What a wonderful bird a frog ain’t.”

– Rebekah Goode-Peoples/Oryx & Crake

If you are anywhere near Atlanta this weekend, you don’t want to miss this celebration, the Marriage album release party.

Details: On Saturday the twelfth of September at nine o’clock in the evening, Oryx & Crake has a very special “Marriage” release show planned at The EARL with a reception to follow at the Brigantine Beer Parlor and Recreation Hall with Dot.s.

Your RSVP is requested here. Formal attire optional.

Check out one of the video below from Oryx & Crake’s upcoming album Marriage “The World Will Take Care Of Me” that the band recently premiered on PASTE that stars Rebekah & Ryan Peoples son, made this summer by the kids of Atlanta nonprofit re:imagaine/ATL at their Green Room video camp that teaches a group of kids including at-risk youths the basics of film skills from start to this beautifully finished product. It’s an amazing non profit that deserves your attention. You will love this video :

More On Oryx & Crake:

Website: www.oryx-and-crake.com

Facebook: @oryxandcrakeband

Twitter: @oryxncrake

Instagram: @oryxncrake

YouTube: Oryx and Crake

Soundcloud: oryxandcrake

Bandsintown: OryxAndCrake

Check out the gorgeous album artwork by Bo Bartlett:OandC-Marriage_Cover_hires 3

* #OpenEarsInfluencers is a series highlighting an album that had a major influence on artists, music industry folks, and music fiends alike’s love for music, an album that was really a catalyst and started it all for where they currently are in their musical journey. 

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Mike Gerry

Head music fiend at OpenEars Music

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