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Flashback Review: This Time it’s Extra Virgin by Olive

A trip-hop classic

51l-lolaswlIn 1996 British trip hop group, Olive dropped their first full-length album, Extra Virgin. Amazing puns aside, the London-based band definitely had something good going on, with their unique with their well-crafted beats and ethereal soundscapes.

The opening track on the album, “Miracle,” fades in slowly with a trance-like, ambient build that almost induces a meditative state. The calming nature is not broken when the lyrics begin. Instead the calm, yet strong vocals soothe the ears even. Once the beat drops it’s slow and smooth, complimenting the lyrics perfectly, which carry a seductive air.

“You’re Not Alone” is a fast-paced, uplifting song about a love that prevails no matter the distance. The beat is catchy, and there’s a sincerity about this song that’s rather inspiring. As far as love songs go, this one resonates with anyone who found themselves torn from the object of their affections, but weren’t ready to let the bond die. For them, this “You’re Not Alone” might as well be their anthem. This is one of the three songs off of Extra Virgin to be released as singles.

“Curious” is, as its title suggests, a rather curious track, but in a good way. The beat is fast, and the lyrics are simple in their rhyme scheme, yet cryptic. The slow, drawn out verses are an odd pair with the fast-paced beat, giving the song an almost unsettling feeling, but in a way that is “trippy” as opposed to creepy.

The final track on the album, “I Don’t Think So,” features a seriously awesome brass section that brings the song to another level and adds some serious energy. This compliments the consistently dreamy vocals in a way that highlights the differences without seeming like they don’t fit together. The message of the lyrics is unclear, and can be interpreted in a number of ways.

On one hand it could be a song about not wanting to engage in a romantic relationship. On the other hand, it seems to be a message on loving one’s own life and the mentality many adapt to convince themselves that they are happy with a life they really don’t want to lead. This is apparent in the chorus:

“Love the life you lead
Just to lead the life you love
I don’t think so”

All in all Extra Virgin is an interesting album that is worth looking into. The lyrics hold more than meets the eye, and the composition of the songs will both relax and intrigue fans for many listens to come.

Rating: 4/5

Stream: Olive Extra Virgin 

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