I was a bit shocked to learn of this, OOOD’s fifth album, at such a late stage in the day. For the last two (or three?) albums, I was much more plugged-in to the digital doofmatrix (or whatever) and was keenly aware of the progress and releases of more or less everything. I had no idea that You Think You Are was on the way, and that made it all the more of a happy surprise.
You see, the thing is that You Think You Are is the album that OOOD have always been promising they could make. For years.
Don’t get me wrong: as an act, they’ve always produced consistently good quality music, and while they’ve moved further and further away from those high-bpm full throttle Goa belters, there’s always been a sense that while they’re happy to dip in and explore new musical fissures, they don’t quite get fully bedded into the seam of brave, solid music. You Think You Are changes that.
What makes it so immediately effective is just how… confident this sounds. The production is crisp and chunky, but we’d almost come to expect that. What’s new here is the fusion of styles, bringing in slices of suomi and, thanks to Loopus In Fabula, Bowie-stabbed Disco.
The Philosopher’s Tone kicks off with a set of disparate frequencies and noises, before dropping us into more familiar doof-n-bassline territory. But it doesn’t leave us there; it’s disjointed, and chaotic, with a biting, fun edge that harks back to OOOD’s early Cabbaged fun.
Inner Inca and The King And Eye have those Suomi patters tinkering across the top; the former juggling electro, the latter sitting more firmly in OOOD-oof territory. And we get more electro with Bube (The Tube) which sounds not unlike what you’d get locking Mr Ozio and Snake Thing in a broom cupboard full of synths.
The OOOD remix of Fourfreezer’s Happiness switches play (that’s an Australian Rules Football metaphor, the first and hopefully last to appear on this site) and we’re getting another taste of that psy-breaks doohicky with which OOOD were one of the experimenters. I’ll have to confess it’s never quite resonated with me, sounding like one thing on top of another, as though Ableton was putting the topend of psytrance over a drum pattern that’s essentially Ringo Starr (it bloody is.) Anyway, it’s a good example of such, and if nothing else it cleanses the palette ahead of the album’s Lobster Fucking Terrine (technical musical term), Dum Dum.
Dum Dum occupies track 7 as a homage to the days when track 7 was, well, track 7. It’s a swirly, energetic bit of spacious psychedelia with an insanely gorgeous progression. It begins from out of almost nothing, and combines several flavours of groove that shouldn’t fit and work as well as they do; in other words, it’s “intelligent”, as people said of Goldie’s Timeless. It has this driving, attractive presence almost as though you can feel it getting louder, like walking toward a festival stage as darkness falls. It is literally a fucking belter.
Loopus provides an awful lot of Loopus on English Pizza, which again combines a lot of groove elements that shouldn’t work, but somehow hang together perfectly. It’s easy to imaging a track like this failing miserably, but it succeeds (although I’ll concede that folk looking for a more immediate, thunky experience might be better served with The Best Goa Progressive Psytrance Psychedelic Do We Need Any More Keywords For This To Show Up First On Itunes 2012, Vol 8.)
And finally, Shpiral. Actually it’s not the last track but it should be (the Sonic Species remix of OOOD’s Eye Of The Beholder is good enough, but sounds tacked-on.) Shpiral has that wide-eyed OOOD energy, with gentle melodies sitting effortlessly atop a smooth-as-silk rhythm section, escalating to a wonderfully organic peak that’s right up there with the best.
In short, then: crikey. I was expecting a pleasant listen, I got an awful lot more. Much of OOOD’s output has failed to get the attention it deserves and we can only all hope that this fares differently: many elements here are things that we’ve literally never seen before, and this deserves to be seen as one of the most daringly different, accomplished and (hopefully) influential albums of recent years.