One of the reasons why I have always struggled writing music reviews or synopses of albums that I really like is describing the why. Why do I like it? What makes the music so worthy of further investigation? Sometimes it’s easy, because there are records that tap into just the right sections of my grey matter that inspire words by transporting me to another place in my mind, or tap into seriously deep-seated emotions. Some bands are simply easy to compare to others. Most of the time, like regular people, I like what I like, because the music provides me joy. When it comes down to it that is the main reason why we all like what we like. This leads me down the road of trying to figure out why I’ve always had the inclination to try to sell people on the music that I think is worth hearing. What’s the old simile? “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” It’s not easy. Maybe I do it, because I like to write, and am unbelievably passionate about music. Essentially every moment of my life is linked in my thoughts with a soundtrack of some sort. It is the way I remember dates, seasons, people from the past. And when I say ‘I like to write,’ that’s really only true conceptually. I am only occasionally inspired to actually attempt the work, and I have essentially no audience to write for (thanks to those who do stop by and read!). Hence, my reluctance. I occasionally awkwardly write about mostly fairly obscure music to an audience of almost no one. What is the point? The point is that when I come across music that I enjoy so much, that I cannot at least try to scream it out to the world, and so here we are yet again.
Brazilian five-piece Oxy have released a debut album, Fita, that is providing me great joy. There is something very comfortable about their sound. The music hits notes that my brain seems to be seeking. Not to get too sciencey, but Oxy’s sound molecules are causing my ear molecules to tingle the feel good molecules in my brain. When I first heard the single, “Pink Socks,” I felt like I was listening to one of those formative songs that expanded my tastes back in my teen years. It’s not that it sounds like anyone in particular or of a time, it’s that the song feels like it’s been a part of my life forever. If forced to give comparisons, I would say that they lie in a beautiful dream pop world somewhere between the crisp pop-rock of Julie Plug/Marine Life and the more shoegazey Mira.
Fita feels like a more veteran album than a debut, because it is unified throughout. The quiet and pleasant opening notes that begin the slow burning “Into,” are seamlessly repeated at the end of the closing “80s.” “Into” is the perfect song to begin an album with. It is simple and mellow and step by step, patiently, it builds tension and suspense, until it explodes to a wordless musical chorus that stretches to the far corners of the stratosphere and then rebuilds again. During the second explosion, we find what seems a pronounced Pink Floyd influence, as a guitar solo takes command (not sure who plays what) in a similar tasteful style of David Gilmour. This wonderful guitar work also shows up midway through on “Reality” and the previously mentioned “80s.”
Meanwhile, “Realdaze” and the first single “Pink Socks,” are absolutely stunning pop songs – the kind that should be dominating the hit charts all over the world, but don’t ever seem to. “Realdaze” has grit and emotional impact along with its lyrical refrain “I choose you,” while the more atmospheric “Pink Socks,” glides along with a bassline that makes one instinctively bounce along. Come to think of it, the fourth song, “Carriage,” should be a huge single too, as Sara Cândido’s varied vocals really stand out on this song.
Speaking of varied, Fita, has a nice mixture of styles and tempos as it progresses, without breaking from the very strong vibe that unifies the entire collection. The second half runs a little long, but once you’re in the album’s zone, you really don’t want it to end anyway, so that’s a minor issue. Like I said earlier, their sounds hit just the right notes. “Trying” is a fairly straightforward rock song, while the penultimate, “6th Sense” covers all kinds of ground with its catchy guitar melody, fast chorus, and alternately dreamy and chaotic bridges. I bet that one is a highlight live.
It seems as though shoegaze is alive and well in Brazil. I’m surprised by the resurgence over the last ten years in places like Texas, but I’m learning that it has caught on all over the world. As long as we keep getting great music out of it, I’m all in. Please do yourself a favor and listen to this wonderful collection.
Oxy "Pink Socks"