When thinking of film scores, bold, dramatic instrumental tracks that pack punch and presence come to mind. You think John Williams’s “Star Wars” or Hans Zimmer and “The Lion King.” Likely a musician whose album is drawing comparisons to Iron and Wine and Bon Iver wouldn’t be thought of in the same category as the big-name, big screen scorers. However, with “Belly of the Lion,” film score composer, David Wingo takes a break from his day job to create a hauntingly lovely album under his pseudonym, Ola Podrida.
Ola Podrida simplifies his film storytelling skills into a one-man and a guitar format with somber lyrics and tales of growing up in the South. He manages to keeps the album simple, but rich with texture and elements of interest. Guitar notes sting through the open air and gentle vocals on tracks such as “Monday Morning” and “Donkey.” Light guitar plucking and sweet melodies on “The Closest We Will Ever Be” and “This Old World” allow the heavy lyrics to seem slightly less melancholy, yet still earnest.
Enjoyable to listen to, and heartfelt enough to get immersed in the tales, “Belly of the Lion” is a solid sophomore effort for Ola Podrida. Solid, but doesn’t sizzle. Moments of passion fade pretty quickly, and don’t leave a lasting impact on the listener. The nine tracks don’t break any ground that his acoustic comparisons haven’t already done, but he tells the story he came to tell. And, he tells it without the movie theatrics or major movements. He does it with enough impact and interest to satisfy an acoustic music hunger.
Words: Lori Bartlett