I have an absolutely disgusting obsession with iTunes. Ever since its release in April of 2003, I have frequented the store around the clock in order to follow my favorite artists, and eventually, as a means of discovering new music. It was through this AMAZING application that I discovered Ola Podrida, back in 2007.

Lead singer and creator of Ola Podrida, David Wingo (a film composer) formed the group in 2005 with close friends, Robert Patton and Matthew Frank. Native Texans, they now reside in New York, where they have made the most progress musically. Their successful self-titled debut album was greatly appreciated by indie music fans, yet went unnoticed by the masses. The album possessed a southern feel that blended aspects of folk, country, and indie into a no-frills style of music worthy of a spot in any “relaxation” playlist.

Last Tuesday, the band released its second record. Very much an indie folk album, Belly of the Lion is void of the country feel that carried the band’s debut. The subtle growth shown in this album is indicative of a skilled film composer. Think about it, if your job is to constantly write music tailored to different subjects, it’s pretty necessary to make them sound different, yet recognizably yours.

Taken in its entirety, Belly of the Lion is an incredibly simple album that is successful at what it is, folk music. There are some glaring weaknesses in the album, however. It lacks diversity, and becomes redundant by the middle of the record. Similarities can be easily drawn to bands such as The Antlers and Brand New (believe it or not). “Donkey” is a banjo-packed number that would be indistinguishable from The Antlers to someone that listens to neither. “We All Radiant” mimics everything we have come to love about a Brand New ballad. Eerily similar.

It may sound like I hate the album, but I am actually a fan. The record’s flaws happen to also be its greatest strengths. Wingo’s style of music is highly enjoyable, so why avoid buying this album just because he sticks with that works. The bands I drew comparisons from are brilliant, which has to say something about Ola Podrida.

David Wingo has followed a mold that has produced one great indie folk band after another. The gentle picking of the banjo, jangle of the tambourines (oh so trendy right now), and hushed vocals make Belly of the Lion a must-have album. Though the group may not be revolutionary, they create beautiful music.

Thanks Squarespace!