Review Summary: coming to a sexy haunted house near you
oOoOO is something of a mystery. She or it or they or whoever is creating this lo-fi haunted house abstraction may just be a genius. Coming at an awkward time I expect comparisons to recent phenomenon How To Dress Well
. The merits are there but the approach is different. oOoOO is creating symphonic horror with exquisite undertones providing a delicate balance between intimacy and remoteness. While she’s busy soothing your soul with psychedelic jazz progressions she simultaneously cools the heart with a voice more hollow than the ghost she lives through.
She’s able to grasp some real meaty substance with her debut self-titled EP. For starters she’s cleverly adapted hooks that feel ripped out a page from the 1980’s r&b recipe booklet; ripe with thick grooves and samples that weave in everything from techno to drone. This isn’t a difficult concept to understand as “Sedsumting” repeats “sound, sound, sound, sound…” ultimately conveying the effervescent goal. Whether that goal is achieved with screeching synthesizers gliding serenely across tracks, like a majority of oOoOO
employs, or the utilization of more physical instruments both drum and guitar – see the sleek “Hearts”, which provide a rugged backdrop for her voice to soar over. Even then the focus isn’t solely on her as much as the sounds being created. If she’s not storming to and fro woefully with her voice she’s allowing for a funky groove to make its mark on the listener complete with intricate bass lines, still over synths of course.
Yet what makes oOoOO so mysterious is the distance she keeps. At times when her voice could be captivating she tends to pull away and let the noise take control; when she invites an eerie sample to be the base of the beat she over powers it with clicks, claps and an overly loud whisper. Coupled with this distance comes the ambiguity of her emotion, whether she wants a certain track to be sorrow filled or over joyous is discretionary but never clear cut. She tends to be doing the wrong things at the wrong times, like singing jubilantly over droning tracks, however the outcome feels
right – as if the awkward choices are in fact best suited for the experiment of the album. After all, this album is a reflection of a birthing genre “witch house”; present with dynamics that are constantly testing the ear by sonically moving in and out without even a chance to catch a breath, and soundscapes that range from depressing moods to really depressing moods with poppy overtones. It’s like being excited for a wedding that’s happening at a graveyard; coincidentally it appears that’s what the album’s art is proposing.