The name tells the tale: Alejandra O’Leary is a melodic mash-up of far-reaching artistic cultures and geographic and musical influences.
Combining classic raw rock with a contemporary pop vision, and musical ideas that span the spectrum of pop and rock history, from The Beatles to Elvis Costello, from Liz Phair to The Strokes, O’Leary’s music suggests delightfully paired opposites: Hard-charging and luxuriant, defiant and sugar-coated, individual pain and collective ecstasy, physical drive and spiritual transcendence. Rock and roll.
Okay, those last two are a perfectly harmonious pairing, but the rest are legitimate paradoxes that feed into the allure of an artist aware of the boundaries in front of her, yet never constrained by them.
Born in Portland, Maine to a Colombian mother and an Irish-American father, O’Leary grew up all over the world and has lived in many U.S. cities, including New York and Chicago. She came to call Michigan home, with all the exquisite, agonizing overtones that such a location brings. The ups and downs of Detroit are well-documented, but the city brings with it a certain steely resilience.
The city and state subtly inform “Heartspace Timepiece,” Alejandra’s latest album of new recordings made with her Ann Arbor band, the Champions of the West. From the cover of “Heartspace Timepiece” Detroit’s iconic Penebscot Building stands imperious against a visceral sunset. Steel meets cloud. The visual reference is no coincidence: gritty and dreamy, impressionistic and true-to-life, the music of “Heartspace Timepiece” captures the contradictions of cities and souls in turbulent transition.