One of my massive bugbears, are labels that entice me to re-mortage my house to pay for the extortionate modern price of vinyl, based merely on hearing the two tracks released as part of the ‘pre-order’. I have had my wallet spanked on numerous occasions (or used to…I never buy before hearing a full album, first). It’s sneaky I tell ya, especially when they throw in ‘limited edition’ marketing before the inevitable re-press.
Damnably / Oddly have foregone such a temptation and have released this superb EP digitally and in all it’s glorious entirety, prior to the August vinyl release and, if the music gods that decree such things are offering any semblance of fairness, it will sell absolute bag loads as a result of people realizing just how good it ‘all’ is.
Kyoto, Japan’s, Oddly are typically Damnably. Typically dark and light. Typically sweet and grumble. This sense of disparation is seen on this EP in two interlinked, contrasting aesthetics.
Initially there is something so perfectly South East Asian in Counterfeiters and Loaded that takes the swirling, subtle gaze-laden template of the absolute prettiest parts of the Abstract era 17 Years and Berlin Wall aesthetic and swaps out just the right amount of gaze for extra layers of melody. No one is quite able to do this sweet gaze laden sound like the acts coming out of the region at present and this new act have the potential to be among the best.
As if defying some sort of unwritten musical science, the fuzz manages to get more beguiling in the second aesthetic. The superlative lead single Ruh Ruh, Nonage, Concrete Jungle and The Plateau, all sidle away from the all consuming hazy swirl and allow more of the jangled riffs to shine through. Again the fuzz is still there, but it is now subservient to a stunning sense of guitar lucidity.
After just one previous EP, Loaded from March 2020 (this release is all four of those tracks with Ruh Ruh and The Plateau bookending them), it would ordinarily be something of a surprise to see a label of the Damnably stature adding them to their roster. However, this label do the ‘newbies’ thing so much better than most and have got things extremely right once more !!!