With Song of an Eastern Wind, the always eclectic Chalk Dinosaur takes a step away from the electro-funk of last October’s Sunset to focus on lyric-driven indie pop. There are even acoustic guitars!
The album’s titular track is described by Chalk Dinosaur mastermind John O’Hallaron as a “cross generational collaboration between me and my parents.” The song was inspired by O’Hallaron’s discovery of two cassettes, both nearly half a century old, one featuring his father, David, singing a wistful folk ballad, and the other featuring his mother, Helen, playing piano at a recital. The younger O’Hallaron overlaid parts of these recordings with drum production, bass, and slide guitar, creating a sonic artifact that stands outside of time. The grainy, faded sound quality of David O’s recording, which acts as the song’s backbone, gives the track a wistful, dreamlike quality, and Helen O’s glittering piano flourishes are musical incantations that beckon the listener back to the mid-70’s. Chalk Dinosaur’s oscillating drum loop gives the thing momentum, carrying us through the sounds of decades past like a train gliding past a half-remembered town. The effect is uncanny; “Song of an Eastern Wind” is a unique and moving artwork.