There’s a real bittersweet feeling when it comes to wanted things getting delayed. Red Dead Redemption 2 was pushed back and now everybody loves it, Spyro’s Reignited Trilogy was pushed back and soon I’m sure everyone will love that too, and oh800’s debut album Character Building was pushed back by a month and now…I love it. This is possibly the album I’ve been most excited to hear this year and FINALLY it is out and FINALLY I can confirm that it is a doozy.
It was second single ‘I Want You Around’ that originally got me excited for Character Building. Everything from the strut of the basslines to the wandering eyes of the synthesiser adds an element of groove to the airwaves, and against lyricism of killjoys and loyalty it does a great job building that stark contrast that really appeals to the masses. It’s full of hooks from start to finish, and has depth to it that makes it so much more satisfying to listen to.
This formula shines throughout the new record, as the likes of the title track kick things off with a glorious percussive intro that could make James Murphy cry. It’s jazzy beginning makes way for a roaring guitar section that tears through the ears with it’s own sense of swing that’s disjointed in the best way. ‘Shoulda Known It’ tightens things up with it’s seriously good Disco vibes, whilst ‘Bouncing Off Each Other’ could become an Indie hit at any party wishing to be alternative.
But against all of this immediacy comes the other side of Oh800. The trio aren’t afraid to mellow out their sound for the likes of ‘Mission to Mars’ or ‘Palindrome’, which offer the same level of danceable basslines but embed it in amongst the layers to give off a more ambient vibe, and don’t even get me started on closing track ‘Weird Dial’, which is six minutes of unadulterated groove.
For an album that repeatedly detailed as being about “inner turmoil”, it sure does a great job making inner turmoil sound fun. The instrumentals are a glorious blend of Dance, Punk, and Funk that accompanies uninhabited grooves with an underlying sense of falling apart, while the band have no qualms adding in little references here and there to bring in the fun factor to gloss over it. The “beep beep!” during the verse to ‘Shoulda Known It’ is a personal highlight, but the entirety of Character Building is an absolute blast. Oh800 have produced one of the best records of the year here.