Tuesday, November 15, 2011

ALBUM REVIEW: Odonis Odonis - Hollandaze

by Mark Gillis

After listening to Hollandaze (my introduction to Odonis Odonis) I sat for a while trying to think about how I could pin down their style of music. The phrase that I came up with to describe their sound was “surf-gaze”. I'm not even sure it's an accurate descriptor but it's the best that I could come up with. This album is really different than a lot of music that I've heard this year, both in good ways and bad ways.

Right out of the gate this album comes packing a punch. The first few tracks a really loud and in your face, but really groovy and catchy at the same time. When I said before that I'd call this “surf-gaze”, the surf part of that descriptor comes from the groovy baselines that are all over this album. They give off a really California beach type feel. After the first few tracks this album settles down into a more shoegaze feel but it still manages to maintain the punch of the first few tracks with the same groovy bass and some really mathy sounding guitars on a few tracks.

Even though all the catchiness and grooviness of these tracks is nice, I can almost assure you that it won't the the first thing you notice when you listen to this album. I'm pretty sure the thing most people will notice right away is how lo-fi the production is. It actually reminds me a lot of the album Badlands that Dirty Beaches released earlier this year. While at first I found this to be a bit of an annoyance on Hollandaze, I got used it after a few listens. I'm still not totally sure if it's a good or bad thing that the album sounds like this, but I guess it just depends on personal preference and whether or not you can put up with how harsh some of the sounds are.

While we're talking about production and putting up with sounds, I should probably mention how much this album is soaked in reverb. Hint... it's a lot. Again, it’s a matter of personal preference if you like the wall of sound that all the reverb creates, but I could definitely see be overbearing to some people. The amount of reverb along with the lo-fi production really just creates such a mess of noise sometimes that can be difficult to pick the sounds from the song apart. At times these songs can just sound like a huge mess of fuzz and nothing more. It even takes over the vocals on a lot of tracks so you can’t make out what is being sung at all, with gets a little bit annoying for me.

Now all this stuff about the production being said, I still do really enjoy listening to this album. I think the choices on production were obviously made on purpose to give it a certain feel. I'm not even sure if this album would have the same effect on me if it sounded glossy and shiny. I really do like that this album sounds dirty, grungy and grimy. It might be because I haven't listened to a ton of music like this recently, but the production of it really makes me feel like it has some emotion that I wouldn't get from it if it sounded flawless.

So to sum things up, Hollandaze is an awesome collection of collection of surf-pop/rock and shoegaze music. I really do find this songs to be catchy as hell, so as a result of that I think this album is a really engaging listen. However, if you're just looking for some nice clean sounding music then you’ll hate this album, that isn't even a question. On the other hand if you want some shoegaze music with a lot of reverb and a lot of noise to it, you should check this out because I think it was a solid listen. All of the noise did get to be a little bit much for me at times, but sometimes you have to take the good with the bad when you're listening to music, and I think the potential good outweighs the potential bad on this album. 

You can stream this album down below and let me know what you think in the comments.

You can also follow me on twitter @Mark__Gillis

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