With his primary collaborator/superhuman percussionist Glenn Kotche busy in Wilco and also an ocean away, O'Rourke wasn't sure how to bring the complex rhythmic and arrangement ideas in his head to life. Then, he encountered Yamamoto Tatsuhisa, a powerful drummer in his own right, and O'Rourke's mind turned. Along with Tatsuhisa, Ishibashi Eiko on keys, bassist Sudo Toshiaki and Hatano Atsuko on strings, O'Rourke has conjured a biting, dizzying rock masterpiece with Simple Songs.
Many of the songs here build on prog-rock tropes and move in suites, while O'Rourke sings defiant lyrics like "All your love will never change me" in a dry, pointed manner that recalls Warren Zevon. He almost whispers his devastation, like it's nothing. The songs are lushly dense and about as challenging and exhilarating as pop can be. (Drag City)