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A review of...
Dead About Thinking by Okay Champ
Dead About Thinking is the debut album from "gloom-fuzz 5-piece" Okay Champ. The band's members have a stellar reputation in the North East (and afar), forming from the ashes of EAT FAST, YOURCODENAMEIS:MILO, Nately’s Whore’s Kid Sister and Let’s Buy Happiness. Now they've come together and built something which is probably darker, and more fully formed than any of those individual bands. John Edgar (vocals), David Turnbull (guitar), Mark Brown (bass), James King (drums) and Stuart Walkinshaw (electronics/synths) can make a hell of a din, and they do so with relish. The guitar is particularly crushing on the stellar opening number "The Party's Over", starting off with a standard wonky riff, but "after the drop" turning into something that would be right at home on an Obituary album. The lyrics match the music in terms of sheer direct hopelessness. "I used to live in Europe, but now I live in shit" isn't exactly subtle but it does its job. It's one of those opening tracks that just reels you in.
From there the band take us through seven tracks which flit between art-rock, doom metal and other strange avenues. "William Tell" has a haunted monk-like quality running through it, an eerie vocal hook from John Edgar which allows the music to sit back a little before disappearing into a screeching cacophony (I got hints of local hero Richard Dawson on this track, the vocals have an almost traditional folk essence to them). "Safe Neck" is probably the most playful track on the LP, channelling the weirder side of 70s glam rock amongst the customary guitar fuzz, the melody in the first half of the song has hints of a show-tune. Not so much in the second half which just goes batshit. Then there's "Ticket" which has a raw industrial edginess and a particularly danceable groove which would appeal to fans of Fugazi or early Therapy?. The last few minutes of "Keen Admirer" see the band saving up their last shreds of rage to round off the album in devastating, epic style.
Okay Champ have produced seven songs which have a clear ingrained sound, but they manage to incorporate many other disparate elements and influences to form a colossal, strange and totally enjoyable debut album.