Oh, We’re Going to a Hukilau
Here’s an exercise: close your eyes, turn up Opposom’s debut Electric Hawaii, and try to guess what era of music you’ve stumbled into, much less how many musicians it took to get there. Chances are you’ll guess closer to the contemporary psychedelic, dissonant indie pop yielded from the likes of Animal Collective and of Montreal, but still assume a boatload of instrumentalists signed on for this Polyphonic Spree-esque endeavor. Oppossom is really composed of one man: (not a marsupial, sorry) Kody Nielson. The Mint Chicks frontman and brother of Unkown Mortal Orchestra’s Ruban Nielson, has made an album as lush in soundscape and expansive in scope as it gets for a one-man bedroom pop record, threatening to overtake the whole house if you let it.
While not exactly the revelatory magic of those that came before, Electic Hawaii is a great addition to your psychedelic retro record collection. “Fly” kicks up the baroque pop groove, with Peter, Bjorn, and John minimalist drums and ultra-catchy chorus that really does make you feel like you’re flying, resolving ultimately to fall to the next verse, and so on and so forth. The album’s a pretty short listen but that aforementioned get-up-and-go percussion style does get old, though it does tend to complement almost every song. Singles have been clearly chosen in this record, with “Blue Meanies” acting as another easily accessible, bubbly track.
The album’s eponymous track isn’t much of anything but an intro to “Outer Space”; think what The Shins’ “Pam Berry” does for “Phantom Limb” on Wincing The Night Away, only in much shorter of order. “Outer Space” is polished to the point of overwhelming. The initial hook following that almost cacophonous organ and vocal harmony seems better suited for an Apple commercial than sandwiched in this erratic acid trip of a song. The slow-going shoegaze of “Inhaler Song” leaves the listener thinking this may be the next step for Oppossom after the breakneck energy of the other tracks tucker him out. Vocals sluice towards a fuzzed out bridge, while a morose piano carries it all to quiet, calm, end.