Obits – Moody, Standard and Poor
“…But in the end they are who they are, and this album is what it is…”
Mixing indie-rock with post-hardcore is a bit contradictory, but what could just end up as very muddled punk takes the high road. Showing it’s influences rather than becoming them. Opening track You Gotta Lose definitely falls into that old Sub-Pop sound. Persistent bass, sloppy picking and upstrokes a plenty. But is there anything there to win you over? Sure it’s a tried and tested formula, but that’s exactly the problem. With no hooks or catches it just falls into the realm of familiarity, failing to thrill or excite. Unfortunately coming from royal blood and backed by Sub-pop of all labels, my expectations are high. But I don’t see why they shouldn’t be.
There are a few redeeming factors to this album though and Shift Operator is definitely one of them. With it’s droning fuzz bass and minimalistic vocals and guitar, it’s a welcome change from the business from the rest of the album. Each guitar stroke makes an impact that hits home. The vocals on this track are akin to Dinosaur Jr’s J Mascis. There’s definitely some heavy ‘90s vibes of this track, creating an odd feeling of conflicted nostalgia, almost like a feeling of being born in the wrong era. A longing for something that isn’t there.
There’s this trend of mixing ‘90s lo-fi sounds with ‘60s surf vibes and Obits are definitely riding this trend. No track on the album is a better example of this than Spot the Pikey. A definite throwback to instrumental surf. Washed in reverb and with plenty of tremolo chords it does come off as quite the gimmick. But once you get over this, it definitely is one of the stronger tracks on the record. It’s hammering bass-line and dissident guitars really tie it together.
One of the less obvious gems of this record is New August. It’s a grower, it may come off as slightly boring at first with it’s lengthy intro, but on repeated listens you learn to love it’s swells and builds. The fuzz as it comes in. The chromatic riffs. Every ounce of lethargic energy in it, until it breaks down in a splutter.
Despite this album definitely having it’s strong points, I find myself dangling to them. Waiting persistently for them to come. The rest of the album is almost filler in comparison. Which is unfortunate considering how much I wanted to love this album. Maybe I’m letting it’s pedigree get in it’s way. Maybe if there wasn’t the history there is behind this band, I might be a little bit more favourable. But in the end they are who they are, and this album is what it is. Which is to me, I’m sad to say, a little bit of a let down.
Drop-d rating 5.6/10