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Oddhums - The Inception EP

  • Published in Singles

Oddhums, I have no idea what it means or how to pronounce it but I will heartily (and awkwardly) recommend it. They formed earlier this year in Jaen, Spain and The Inception is their first release. They've been compared to Fudge Tunnel and sound like a heavy metal version of Shellac.

The bass is so thick and full that you can practically feel the downtuned strings flapping beneath Will’s fingers.The guitar is equally downtuned, but not played in a typical metal fashion. There are post-rock, noise, post-punk, and shoegaze influences on Freg’s playing as well as doom, death and desert rock. The Inception is covered in drones, atonal chords, and screeching Sonic Youth flourishes.

Keke’s drums are no less remarkable. He often takes the Peter Gabriel route eschewing cymbals only to reintroduce them at a vital moment. His pounding toms are equal part Led Zeppelin, Joy Division and PJ Harvey in style and with the hard rock tone you would expect from Bob Rock’s polished productions.

Will’s vocals are deeply submerged in the mix so that his cries are another instrument rather than the focal point of the tunes. There’s a dreampop vibe off them but with a distinctly doomy delivery; doompop?

The ominous intro of ‘Dimgaze’ gives you some idea of what you're in for and the arrival of Will's bass, like the footsteps of a titan, lets you know that Oddhums are different from other metal bands. There are shades of Killing Joke on ‘Wounds’ and it could be a track from Nirvana’s Bleach played at half speed.

The dissonant stabbing chords of ‘Big Brave’ are suggestive of Steve Albini producing Meshuggah. It also has the closest thing to the chorus on the EP. The slow build of the verse is unsettling and the crushing chorus feels like it will never come.

Oddhums are in the right place with Inverse Records. It’s a label that is proving itself to be consistently open to experimental metal acts of the sort that would otherwise find it hard to find an audience. It is remarkable also that in this music-saturated world, Oddhums have managed to come up with something unique.

The Inception EP is available via Amazon & iTunes.


Somehow Jo! - Go With The Jo

  • Published in Singles

“What the hell is this?!” is a perfectly legitimate reaction to hearing Somehow Jo! For the first time. It's classic rock, it's pop punk, it's thrash, it's hardcore; even death metal raises it's ugly, pox ridden head. But ‘Go With The Jo’ starts out as a Jewish folk tune played on electric guitars.

The band formed in Tampere, Finland in 2009 and released their debut album Satans Of Swing last year. They describe their music as “Alternative-moose-slappin` metal” and cite “Almighty Satan” as their manager. They groove, they rock hard, and they sing the kind of harmonies you expect to hear from cheesy ‘80s hair metal.

Their songs aren’t funny or tongue-in-cheek but they are fun and light hearted, particularly by heavy rock and metal standards. Ever since grunge and the emergence of Radiohead rock music has become austere and po-faced, Somehow Jo!’s accessible and eclectic tunes are the antidote to the sombre earnestness of modern rock.

This single, like their previous output, was recorded in the old-fashioned way with the band in a room together. Vocalist and guitarist Christian Sauren wrote the first album but ‘Go With The Jo’ and the follow-up album, due this winter, are group efforts and the collective approach to songwriting is paying dividends as this new single is the most cohesive, but also the most expansive, that they have yet released.

After the horah riffing, Sauren introduces the song with the lines “This is some nasty shit/ We are dealing with/ If you understand it/ That means you are sick” before the first incidence of the refrain “This is your new romance”. Lead guitarist Sakari Karjalainen joins in on vocals for the pop-rock chorus and contributes a melodic solo after the second chorus.

The big surprise comes in the middle eight with the tremolo pickin’, double bass drummin’, co-ordinating head-bangin’, mosh section. It’s brief but powerful and, in the context of ‘Go With The Jo’ and its lightness of tone, seems all the heavier. The chorus that follows is a mournful crescendo. It is difficult to label this band and this tune. Aside from the obvious rock and metal influences, there are punk, reggae, new wave, pop and folk touches throughout ‘Go With The Jo’. Somehow Jo! imbue everything with a communal joviality and this single is the perfect teaser for their forthcoming album.

Go With The Jo is available from iTunes.

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