By Matt Wickstrom
LEXINGTON, Ky. — The adventure Ona takes listeners on in Full Moon, Heavy Light is borderline otherworldly, with the band not just dipping their toes into the deep end of psychedelia but rather diving in head first. On lead track “Summer Candy” lead singer Bradley Jenkins proclaims “Turn up the range, I want to feel strange,” a hint of sorts of what the West Virginia five-piece has in store on the project’s ensuing tracks.
Listen to Full Moon, Heavy Light in its entirety below.
The result is a tripped-out endeavor of easygoing rock ripe with spaced out jams, cascading guitars and hook-filled melodies lined with a subtle southern twang making for the perfect summer soundtrack. The album begins bright and warm much like the season with the happy-go-lucky “Summer Candy,” the compilation’s first single, and “True Emotion.”
While Full Moon, Heavy Light as a whole has a more dreamy, psychedelic aesthetic to it than its predecessor, it still has its moments of minimalistic alt-folk similar to that of 2016’s debut effort American Fiction. Prime examples include “Ribbon at the Line” and “Quito,” both intoxicating works akin to Kentucky border-mates Wayne Graham due to Jenkins smooth southern drawl coupled with a firm and steady percussion from Max Nolte (similar to Kenny and Hayden Miles, respectively) that leaves an ocean of space for the unknown to meander.
Further elevating the band’s element of surprise throughout the album is keyboardist Brad Goodall, the band’s newest member. Although being with the band since 2016, Full Moon, Heavy Light was the first project he’s appeared on fully integrated into Ona’s sound and nuances, evidenced no better than on “Young Forever” where he provides a whimsical touch leading into an organ-fueled climax followed by an electrifying and extended guitar jam.
Full Moon, Heavy Light was produced by Drew Vandenberg (Stella Donnelly, Drive By Truckers, Of Montreal, Deerhunter, Futurebirds, etc.) and is their first project in a partnership with Tyler Childers’ Hickman Holler Records and the first release on the label Childers’ Purgatory and Live on Red Barn Radio I & II.
With Full Moon, Heavy Light providing what we believe is an ideal blend of authentic blend of easygoing, psychedelic rock ideal for the summer season it only seems fitting that Ona’s tour in support of the album begins and ends in Lexington. The road trip kicks off later today (May 10) at The Burl with local support from People Planet and Buck the Taxidermist for the album’s official release day show along with an in-store performance at 5:30 p.m. earlier in the evening at CD Central. The band will later return to Lexington to round out their current summer tour dates with an Aug. 11 appearance at Keeneland for the inaugural Railbird Festival.
For more information on Ona visit TheBandOna.com.