Ohmme - Parts - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Ohmme - Parts

by Tim Sentz Rating:7 Release Date:2018-08-24
Ohmme - Parts
Ohmme - Parts

If you find yourself giving Ohmme’s debut album Parts a listen today, the first 3 minutes may be one of the most deceiving album intros of the 21st century, so be sure to keep going after. “Icon” starts Parts off with a bright, electric-folk style jaunt with dual harmonies from both Sima Cunningham and Macie Stewart, that recalls Bitte Orca style layering. You assume from this that Parts will just be another indie rock album that caters to a specific crowd, and likely dismiss it.

The deception from “Icon” seems intentional. It’s light and feathery, but it sets up “Grandmother” nicely with its noisy guitar screeching. All the sudden you realize that this might not be what you signed up for. It might just be something wholly unique to the genre. There have been purveyors of that indie rock sound for decades, tourists and poseurs, and they’ve all done good things or poor things, some do new things and others just rehash old ideas. Ohmme do the same, but not in the “I just ripped your band off” way.

Hailing from Chicago, Ohmme have established roots over the last few years thereby going against the norm of indie rock – collaborating with a wide range of talent across genres. Guest spots on Chance the Rapper’s Coloring Book in 2016 added sugary harmonies to highlights like “Same Drugs” and “Sunday Candy” from Surf, the Donnie Trumpet & the Social Experiment gem from 2015. The duo has worked with Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, Tortoise, and Whitney. This all just to state that they won’t shy away from the opportunity to expand their horizons, and that is Parts greatest strength.

No song on Parts really sounds like the other. After the good vibes-laden “Icon,” the tandem switches gears with “Grandmother.” Keeping that resonating dual harmony throughout the album seems like a strategy perfected by Ohmme. The title track rips you from the scratchy guitars of “Grandmother” and supplants you directly into a Kanye Wild Wild West spin, complete with vague auto-tune and string picking.

Then Parts dumps you on your ass with “Water.” What starts like a Cat Power sendup, transitions to a grungy homage of Garbage or even The Breeders, with tiny bits of Tune-Yards-esque melodies. That’s all in one song. “Liquor Cabinet” seems to be the most by-the-numbers track Ohmme is capable of writing and even saying that seems like a huge disservice to their talent. “Peach” devolves into experimental noise rock, but “Sentient Beings” draws the reigns back to a subtle, almost First Aid Kit style cheesiness, before spiraling into Wovenhand style gothic folk. The transitions are seamless, and you don’t see them coming.

Parts is an unpredictable adventure – a wickedly good debut album, that twists and turns, pays homage, punches you in the groin, and then serenades you to sleep, all in the span of a single track. Ohmme may have collaborated and padded the egos of other higher profile musicians, but Parts is their official debut and it’s crackling with personality and promise. It’ll be jarring for some who like their indie folk a bit more watered down, but for those demanding something more from their music, Parts delivers – even if it is taken as a whole can be a bit exhausting.

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