• Eugene Weekly Loves You!
Share |

Where there’s smoke

Smoke Season
Smoke Season

There’s no one element that stands out in “Opaque.” Smoke Season’s most popular single from 2014’s Hot Coals Cold Souls starts unassumingly, with guitarist Jason Rosen’s reverb-drenched Gibson SG carefully plucking out a G chord.

Singer and keyboardist Gabrielle Wortman then moves into the mix, showing off her range with a few octave leaps before launching into the sort of arms-wide-open chorus that U2 built stadium tours around. 

Around the two-and-a-half-minute mark, “Opaque” takes a hard left: A glitchy beat breaks in, prompting a darker, minor-key turn in the song’s tone. Wortman introduces a sultry new vocal line, and the “smoke” part of the band’s name starts to make a bit more sense.

After one final build, the track collapses, fading into a wonderfully textured synth-phonic coda. It’s a hell of a journey for four-plus minutes, and an ambitious one for a band that to date has only released nine songs. 

But Smoke Season doesn’t give off any sense of a new band working out their sound or approach. Rosen — a founding member of New York pop-rock band Honor Society — and Wortman — a solo artist with several recordings to her name — are both vets with a clear vision of the band’s aural and visual aesthetic (expect a lot of feathers and dreamcatchers at the merch table.) 

Smoke Season’s eight other songs don’t stray far from the formula established on “Opaque.” It will be something to watch the band fill the cramped stage of the Axe & Fiddle with all manner of pedals, effects boxes and gear to bring alive its spacey, carefully tailored sound. 

Fellow LA-based duo The Peach Kings will open, bringing with them a harder-edged sound drawn from the more whiskey-soaked side of The Dead Weather and early Yeah Yeah Yeahs. 

The Peach Kings join Smoke Season 8:30 pm Saturday, Dec. 5, at Axe & Fiddle, Cottage Grove; $8.