Alejandra O’Leary & the Champions of the West: Heartspace Timepiece

Probably without trying to do so, this group has managed to put out a soundtrack for an indie film that has yet to be made. The songs on this disc have that same listless, yet wistful, tone that captures the lighthearted grittiness found in so many movies of that genre. It swings between every pace of the human condition.

O’Leary’s voice is perfectly married to the accompanying instrumentals in a way that undeniably shares the spotlight; the two were written to complement one another. In what could only be described as the love child of Hole, the Sneaker Pimps and Zooey Deschanel. It’s not exactly waiting to safely walk you across the street, but it gladly will walk beside you. The nine songs are an enjoyable tapestry of catchy punk and cute satire and all the shades between; you can actually hear them having fun.

They don’t shy away from emotions, but they aren’t bogged down by them, either. Instead of being crushed by feelings—good or bad—they embrace them. O’Leary and friends are here to share, not to preach; they lay it all out and call a spade a spade. These are the sounds of the angst and frustration of adolescence. But they pull it off like adults, adding a natural element of maturity to the subject material: it’s a grown-up garage band.

The success within this album grows from the fact that the players are good and know it. But they don’t let it go to their heads. For them, the music seems to be a gift they want to share, not a supply-and-demand product. The team plays it close to their chests, but not so much that we can’t appreciate their talents; they infuse so many different sounds and genres that, love ’em or hate ’em, it’s difficult not to be impressed by their efforts. There are even tastes of rockabilly and ragtime in the mix! This is less of a collection of songs than a satisfying musical buffet.

If Ms. O’Leary and her like-minded compatriots continue to fuse their skills the way they did on this disc, then it’s a pretty safe bet they’ll be champions of places far beyond the west.

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