Comprising resonant and impassioned vocals, flawlessly executed guitar work, and organ, Offa Rex are a psychedelic folk-rock collective made up of English singer/songwriter Olivia Chaney and Portland-based indie rock outfit the Decemberists. Stylistically akin to the folk talents of artists such as Sandy Denny, Anne Briggs, Steeleye Span, and Fairport Convention, the project originated with a simple tweet between Chaney and the Decemberists’ Colin Meloy (a huge fan of Chaney’s 2015 debut The Longest River), which led to a conversation on the social media site.
This resulted in Chaney opening for the Decemberists on a nationwide U.S. tour. Meloy asked Chaney if she’d ever entertained the idea of performing songs with a backing band — he had the Albion Dance Band in mind. Chaney liked the idea, and Meloy’s long-lived fantasy of starting a ’60s-styled psychedelic folk band led to the birth of Offa Rex. The band’s debut full-length, The Queen of Hearts, arrived in the summer of 2017. Produced at Meloy’s home studio in Portland alongside Tucker Martine (My Morning Jacket, Modest Mouse) with arrangements handled by Chaney, the record displayed an eclectic and varied sound palette, which paid homage to various aspects of ’60s folk-rock and psychedelia.