Oh No Oh My - People Problems
After riding out the crests of their success in the last decade, which amongst other achievements saw them touring with many indie delights including The Flaming Lips and Mew, Oh No Oh My decidedly placed their last musical efforts into boxes marked ‘well, that went well didn’t it?’, invested in a less rose-tinted lens, and gave it a twist to set a brand new focus. So whatever you do, don’t be fooled by their past Persil-soft harmonies once heard in adverts for Juno, three whole years has passed since then, and Oh Boy Oh My have they changed.
Signing up for the best ‘upbeat-but-bleak’ record of the year, People Problems can only be diagnosed as having full-blown song schizophrenia. Peering beneath the ’butter wouldn’t dare melt’ melodies lies a more sinister lyrical edge that tells tales of all things uncanny but true. Take stand-out track ‘Brains’ for example, digging deeper beneath the smiling facade of the guitar reveals symptoms for the earlier prognosis, with lyrics such as ‘Pick a room and hope that you are first / Waited until morning / Smell the blood on your shirt’ making a rather pleasant appearance. Oh No Oh My may be needing that washing powder after all.
This smattering of multiple personality disorder does make sense however, considering that each member of the quartet is a rather talented multi-instrumentalist. And although this unfortunately doesn’t mean that they all dress up as one-man-bands onstage, it does mean that each track has so much depth, it’s like placing 3D glasses on your ears. ‘Circles and Carousels’ retains a strand found in the soundtrack of independent film, using simplistic strums to enthuse the subdued vocals in the mere 1 minute 28 that is devoted to the ditty. Nevertheless, these fret frolics seem to have lost their way again in tracks such as ‘I Don’t Know’, which includes the sentence, ‘Sea of deeper blackness’ sung in the happiest pitch available in the oral ether.
It is this twisted but brilliant fusion of buoyancy-fuelled delirium that makes People Problems an album that could easily have had its melodies scored by Dr. Jekyll and its lyrics penned by Mr Hyde. And with a European tour on its way to coincide with the record’s release, someone should seriously tell the quartet to change their name to Oh Yes Oh My instead.