ERIC ANDERS AND MARK O'BITZ - So Far Gone - ALBUM REVIEW



ERIC ANDERS AND MARK O'BITZ

So Far Gone

Northern California, United States



So Far Gone is a warming classic American rock EP. Its’ subtle, soft and full of bluesy licks and changes that make it timeless. Eric Anders and Mark O’Bitz have once again blended their collective musical stylings and it works flawlessly. The instrumentals are crisp, the vocals are soaring and backed by all manner of delicious harmonies. So Far Gone feels personal and tuned for the world we live in right now, a classic sound with a modern message, refreshing.


‘So Far Gone’ is the title track and opener. It's acoustic and folky and acts as a hearty handshake - get to know the voice that will imbue you with uplifting melodies, the guitar that will sink into your skin, the drums that accent the songs with masterful finesse. The song is simple and slow, it builds to an open and breathy bridge that features a guitar-bending riff that feels like a sunrise it's so rich and warm. A brilliant opener by the books, now you know that Eric Anders and Mark O’Bitz can follow the rules of American rock and blues, it's even more fun to listen to them play with its boundaries.


‘Above the Highest of Spires’ is up next, its vocal layers and wailing guitar bends fill the chorus with an angelic presence. The verses are modern, using keys and a droning guitar riff that makes the explosion at the chorus even more gratifying. The backing vocals add a depth to the song that takes us back to the classic rock sound. ‘Above the Highest of Spires’ feels like a triumph, and the sound that Anders and O’Bitz create is so personal that you feel like you were part of it, the uplifting spirit flows in abundance and will slap a smile on your face.


‘Fantasyland’ slows it down. Plucked guitar steals the show as the vocals cry solemnly into the instrumental that rises in response to its call. The chorus is smooth, it rolls rather than crashes, in from the left out to the right, as if it was never there at all. Harmonies fill out the space, they’re not overdone they just add enough texture for us to really feel the emotion that pours from each bar. A piano dances in the rain in the bridge as the vocals shower it with ooh’s and ahh’s. The EP is packed with these moments, where the songwriting duo decide to shift from the norm and present us with something new, even if it can throw us off balance it's worth it. These many gems that hide in the songs are what make So Far Gone sound like the classic rock powerhouse it is.


If it's been a bit rock heavy for you so far, ‘Down to See’ will be the song for you, its bluesy guitar wails flood the ears with tone and the open strums in the chorus add a presence that is rarely felt without layers and layers of vocals. Yet here, in ‘Down to See’ So Far Gone presents another of its gems. ‘Dirty Sun’ is the most experimental song on the album. It starts acoustic and quickly adds a pulsing synth tone behind the vocals. The chorus blows up like an Oasis classic. I instinctively searched for a lighter to sway in the night. ‘Dirty Sun’ is certainly my pick for the single for So Far Gone, it brings together everything that Eric Anders and Mark O’Bitz have spent years perfecting, and does so effortlessly.


The album ends with a long ballad of sorts, ‘Hey Josephine’. It builds slowly and plays with a sound that is American Rock meets Country. Its’ lyrical storytelling takes centre stage and the song flows like silk. ‘Hey Josephine’ is a beautiful close to a solid EP, with guitar solos in abundance, harmonies, organs, and vocals that come into their own, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’d recommend listening to So Far Gone just so you can hear these two American Rockers close it out in style.