In an age of over-saturation, a track which is dedicated to exploring the depths of the moment and overriding that fear of ‘missing out’ really is welcome – the theme of the latest tune from Oddnesse; ‘Are You Down’.
Oddnesse is the creative union of Rebeca Arango and producer Grey Goon, already making an impact on Bitter Sweet Symphonies with the previous tune ‘Scream’ which combined moodiness with melodic exploration for an opening of the emotions – a blend of alt-folk with a kind of enchantment.
A little like the initial structuring of ‘Scream’, ‘Are You Down’ opens with a deep, dwelling note – but with a brilliant buzz on bass this time, rather than acoustic. Then a siren-like sound, a kind of flyover of the mind, moves in, as well as guitar going over a progression of notes and beat. This entrance alone is enough to show how the music of Oddnesse has advanced in its ability to value each individual sound, and convey this to the listener.
The vocals add to the atmosphere, beginning mellow and almost mumbled – though some may find the lack of lyrical clarity here at a bit of a contrast to the deliberate, deft music. However, the lines lead us to the declaration, “This is my maximum speed” before the development into “Are you down?”, in what appears to be an encounter with both the highs and lows of emotion. I like it.
The chorus is clearer too, with simple yet stand-out lyrics: “So you want to go slow? / Are you feeling heavy? / Would you ever get high?”. The voluminous vocal intonation on ‘h’ in some of the ending words here gives uplift and unpeels more emotional depth, showing Arango’s skill as singer, as well as songmaker.
Simplicity at a lyrical level works in Oddnesse’s favour – as has the significance of being open to interpretation, and the clever instrumentation – of progressive guitar notes – allows the mind to be productive, musing over whether the work of Oddnesse wants us to think about pacing ourselves in relationships, or taking more time to relax and appreciate life.
As Rebeca Arango herself says: “I call this my “Pina Colada” song (in reference to the Rupert Holmes ditty). The question of going “slow” isn’t about romantic pacing per se (though that is important), it’s more about generally moving slow, never rushing to pack in too much all at once or getting anxious about “missing out,” and preferring to sink in and explore the depths of all things.”
The combined rhythm of creative lyricism with instrumental charm are a highly effective feature of Oddnesse’s work – as the final wave of epic, celebratory guitar gears up for a vocal interchange of “Do you think it’s possible?” and “Are you down?”. Both blend two questions so difficult to answer – and instead perhaps should be faced with life experience, rather than rock hard answers.
A creative cacophony of cymbals and smashes bring the track to a close in a heartfelt rather than a hysterical way – a balance I believe Oddnesse strikes well. Bringing alive the beauty of lived experience, ‘Are You Down’ accentuates reality, so we may feel the roughness of life, but with that, also its brilliance.
The new single ‘Are You Down’ is out now via Myster. Purchase on iTunes here.