Here comes the fuzz.
The ‘windy city’ of Chicago is famous for a lot of things: deep dish pizza, Michael Jordan’s glory years, and the curse of the Chicago Cubs among others. Colour me surprised, Chicago is becoming famous for a burgeoning indie punk scene which is bubbling just under its surface, who knew? Indie punk is good fun. Don’t let anyone tell you differently, the mesh between pop sensibilities and raw rock ‘n’ roll works well. This is exemplified by three-piece ODDITY, who have been doing the Chicago circuit for a while now, previously under their name of Fletcher. ODDITY consists of Oscar Baker (lead vocals/guitar), Harvey (backing vocals/bass), and Tom Fry (drums), and are an amazingly tight unit, not only personally but musically.
‘Pressure’s Gone’ is the second single off their debut album Settle Down. The track is described as channelling Dave Grohl and his high energy, frenetic work with The Foo Fighters; and as comparisons go that isn’t unfair, the energy, ferocity and pop sensibilities that the Foo’s use to great effect are on full display here. From the beginning high-octane drum introduction, which features some melodic guitar licks, all the way through to the explosive wall of sound anthemic choruses.
Oscar Balker’s lead vocals are punky, punchy, and raw, complementing the band as they lock themselves into their tight rhythmic patterns. These allow Oscar the opportunity to express himself, jostling between cries of anguish and screams of passion. “Pressure’s got the best of me, all I want is pressure free/ pressures ran out way too long, now I want this pressure gone.” Lyrics confronting the pressure of paranoia, in love and in life.
ODDITY, never letting the energy drop for a second, are at times funky, at times playful and at other times hard as nails. The track then moves into a very ‘No One Knows’ (Queens Of The Stone Age) bass breakdown, breaking up the track nicely and setting us up for the finale. The fuzzy guitar solo builds the tension and the texture before moving into a final round of explosive choruses, filled with thick walls of guitars and some fine work on the crash symbol.
Throughout the track, it’s worth noting that the production is stellar, which is to be expected when you are working with Nirvana In Utero producer Steve Albini. The mix is full but never overwhelming. Each song of the album (including this one) was recorded directly to tape, making listeners feel as though they are in the room with the band. Another old-fashioned Foo Fighters technique. It works for this kind of music, allowing the instruments to sound large and imposing while keeping the small intricate nature of the band’s work on show.
I’ve never been to Chicago, but if this is the kind of thing I can hear in the bars down there it might be time to book my tickets. Check it out.