Thursday, 28 September 2017

Album: OTHERKIN - OK

OTHERKIN OK
Photo: Gregory Nolan

OTHERKIN - Ay Ay

Info: 2017 has already been a tornado of touring for OTHERKIN, having completed three UK adventures, one headline, one with The Amazons and a third with punk legends the Dead Kennedys. Furthermore, the band opened for Guns ‘N’ Roses at the legendary Slane Castle, made their Download debut at Castle Donington and kept the Otherkin flame burning in Holland and France. Just recently, they were championed by Metallica’s Lars Ulrich on his Beats1 radio show.

Their debut album 'OK' which releases this Friday, 29th of September, was recorded in Ireland with David Prendergast, Jason Boland and the band at the controls. The tracks were mixed in London by Jolyon Thomas, best known for his work with Slaves and Royal Blood. Showing real commitment to their art, singer Luke and drummer Rob both had fresh 'OK' tattoos committed to flesh for the album artwork.

There have been few albums more eagerly awaited by Irish music fans (and indeed now those further afield) this year than OTHERKIN's debut LP OK. Those with the Dublin band from the very start, particularly the last two years, will feel like they've been on this journey with them, finally this Friday, we arrive at our destination. 

Opener 'Treat Me So Bad' gives the album an interesting and somewhat surprising start, it feels like OTHERKIN are warming us up with their own personal homage to old school 60's rock n' roll. It's like what you'd expect The Beatles to throw up if they'd had a welly load of distortion at their disposal on With The Beatles, well, I did say it was a surprise. In the final third however, the band hint at what is to come as they crank proceedings up.

On 'Come On, Hello' the quartet fast-forward to the modern day, a sweeping groover of an indie rock track replete with cheeky 'woo-hoo' calls in the not so distant background. The lead guitars and percussion are merely winding up here for something far more outrageous as the album unfolds. 'Ay Ay' was the band's first single, an explosive introduction from 2015 which firmly holds its ground today, the pulsating vocal to and fro and distorted carnage are gripping, a rock fans single.


OTHERKIN - Yeah, I Know

With a walloping snare intro, funky bass-line and chugging muted guitar 'Feel It' grasps the nettle with both hands, it's an intoxicating cocktail of chaos and fun wrapped in barbed wire, and another early example of why you'd yearn to see them live without delay. Following the theatrical drama of the KISS-esque ''89' comes the scorched earth of 'Yeah, I Know', hard to escape a vision of Mad Max Rockatansky driving some grotesque post-apocalyptic vehicle over your granny's flower beds with a bottle of whiskey in one hand and the other on the wheel whilst laughing in a deranged manner. 

'Enabler' is an important moment on OK, it sees the band hone directly in on a non-conventional rock sound, with grunge and punk saddling either side, this feels completely care-free and thoughtful and indicative of the band being just as focused on experimental creativity as producing crowd-pleasers. It has just the right amount of seriousness without collapsing in on itself. After the glam and speed-rock of the tasty 'Razorhead' we drop bang into the middle of another hit single from a few months ago 'Bad Advice'. It has the band's personality stamped all over it, nonchalant swagger, happy abandon and an alluring confidence which leaves you slightly in awe of how at ease they appear to be in what they are doing.

OTHERKIN - I Was Born

A track I've always had a soft spot for is 'I Was Born', it somehow links the hopeful naivety of youth with the despondency of later adult years. With it's Guns 'N' Roses opening drum and guitar crush, the track spirals helplessly away from its core with pieces flailing off in every direction, in an almost therapeutic release from some subconscious burden, it's devilishly magnificent.

At track 11 of 12 there's zero let up in the energy of the album courtesy of 'REACT', OTHERKIN determined to pound themselves and us right over the finish line until we collapse with exhaustion, solid lead guitar solos and satirical vocal rasps give one last dart in the arm to kick in before the grand finale. 

What a finale it is, 'So So' is an epic end to the album, with a Bondian guitar riff loading the intro, that outside the box experimentation comes through once again as the four-piece wander through the darkness, seemingly aimlessly, going wherever their intuition takes them. It's a rare and wonderful thing for me personally, but the final track on OK is my favourite of the entire album, the build is perfect, the energy is bottled up, and the world implodes at 3 minutes and 50 seconds, it's slightly at odds with the rest of the album in some ways, and that's what is exciting.

OTHERKIN sign off OK with a dystopian rock vision of their future, they could easily repeat a slight variation of the album and get away with it next time round, but you're left in no doubt that that is not going to happen. There is so much to enjoy on this album and in a way it's an album Irish music fans need. Whilst it's not why we love independent Irish music, every now and again we need the bands that we see playing small venues we love around the country to go a step further, we've all wished it, many a time. OTHERKIN are filling those boots admirably right now, and they're in them on merit with OK.

OK is available to buy on vinyl, CD and digital across multiple platforms here http://smarturl.it/OtherkinOK

For info on OTHERKIN's upcoming Irish, U.K. and European tour dates go here http://www.otherkinok.com/tour

OTHERKIN OK Album Cover

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