An imperfect but exciting interpretation of indie pop
On their sophomore album, Chicago-based group OHMME have put their own unique spin on the indie pop template. Most notably, the vocals and lyrical style is incredibly diverse across Fantasize Your Ghost, always managing to conform to the wide variety of stylistic vignettes and experiments. It’s clear throughout the album that OHMME has tapped into an exciting lens through which to reinterpret pop, but this project definitely doesn’t represent their full potential. They may have found an intriguing lane, but they haven’t yet managed to consistently turn that lane into 10 front-to-back solid tracks.
The album begins with “Flood Your Gut,” where the pairing of a chanted refrain, “your whole vision’s not enough,” and moaning, distorted and repetitive guitars invoke a sense of paranoia. “Selling Candy” follows, which continues this anxious pattern. The dearth of lyrics is a bit frustrating though, especially considering that the way OHMME muses elsewhere on the album could’ve been very interesting on the more abrasive back end of this song.
“Ghost” introduces a slightly more light-hearted version of the band, where the anxiety of the past two tracks becomes a knowing and incisive sarcasm. “I’m counting the days, acquiring the taste/ I’m sick of looking at the stupid look on your life” quickly becomes one of the album’s most memorable lyrics. “The Limit” then ups the ante on OHMME’s positivity and self-assuredness. Here, the instrumentation leans more deliberate and focused, with subtle melodic flourishes on guitar punctuating airy vocal acrobatics. “Spell It Out” opts for a much slower pace, and besides the gorgeous “What ever happened to you wanting to be there” moment, is ultimately held back by the lack of urgency.
“Twitch” follows a similar path; even in its more complex moments, it feels vaguely empty. Regardless, the band is still lyrically killing it, and continues to on “3 2 4 3” and “Some Kind Of Calm” with even more clever refrains. The band also continues to develop the complexity of their sound, with some great guitar licks on “3 2 4 3” and beautifully sparing backing on “Some Kind Of Calm.” “Sturgeon Moon,” the band’s honest attempt at a more obtuse track, falls completely flat, before the album concludes with “After All,” a comforting wrap up of the personal issues explored through the project.
While OHMME might not always know where to stop, their propensity for weaving beautiful and rewarding moments makes their music worth the occasional bout of frustration. The consistently fantastic lyrics and vocal performance also certainly ease the pain. Fantasize Your Ghost may not be a perfect album, but it shows that OHMME is capable of creating affecting moments around which amazing songs can be built, and that is more than enough to provoke excitement for future releases.