The only time I’ve seen Mission Viejo-based Oliver Jane in concert was in January at Detroit Bar; it happened to be a show plagued by numerous and pervasive sound problems. (Think “bordering-on-unlistenable” bad.) Despite this setback, the 2-year-old band patiently plowed through the best they could, and buoyed by their nuanced male-female vocal harmonies (think a younger, acoustic version of Mates of State), they showed themselves to be one of the more charming, enjoyable acts in Orange County.
A look at their MySpace confirms that this appealing vibe wasn’t just a one-night occurrence. Cutesy imagery abounds, such as piñatas and magnetic letters spelling out band members’ names. Their “about me” is a fable equating their band to a “beautifully radiant, sparkling, gleaming orange.” While they’re plenty sweet—see the sentimental “Autumn Sunset” or the bouncy “Plastic & Tin Figurines”—Oliver Jane have their sour moments, too, such as the downbeat lyrics of “The Cat Killed Curiosity” (“We said goodbye for the last time/I watched your arrows shoot right through me”) and calling out Anaheim venue Chain Reaction via their blog (calling the place en masse “a bunch of assholes with small balls” after an evidently unpleasant gig there last summer).
Though I’ve wanted to check out Oliver Jane again, in a hopefully snag-free environment, there haven’t been many chances to do so recently, after singer/multi-instrumentalist Oliver (his female counterpart goes by Jane, as you might have guessed) suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident. Their eVocal show this Friday is the now-healed band’s first in two months, but in the interim, they’ve released a new track, “Spaceheater Song,” containing some of their strongest songwriting. Their minimalist aesthetic remains, but the band sound more complete than ever before.
Oliver Jane at eVocal, 814 W. 19th St., Costa Mesa, (949) 642-4548; www.myspace.com/evocal. Fri., 8 p.m. $7. All ages.