When listening to lo-fi for the first time, a lot of people disregard it as overdone distortion, inaudible vocals and just general noise. Sadly, with Odonis Odonis’s Hollandaze, they may be right.
Hailing from Canada, Odonis Odonis were originally formed as a solo project for songwriter and frontman Dean Tzenos, and only recently became a live band project. The album itself was compiled between January 2009 and September 2010 from a selection of home-recorded tracks Tzenos put together in a tiny home studio.
For my money, Hollandaze is an incredibly ‘samey’ album. There are very few tracks here that leave me saying “Wow!”, or lead me to put them on repeat for the next few hours as I have done with the likes of The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Cure and even Pixies who provided the inspiration for this album.
That said, there are some redeeming features to Odonis Odonis’s first studio album. The single ‘Busted Lip’ is an incredibly ballsy song. Punky and loud (like most of the album), it really grabs you by the nuts and pins you to the wall. But, as I said, it sounds much the same as some of the other throwaway tracks here. The highlights of Hollandaze for me are in fact the last three songs on the album: ‘We Are the Left Overs’, ‘Ledged Up’ and ‘Tick Tock’.
‘We Are the Left Overs’ is a superb track, reminiscent of some early Ultravox! or some of My Bloody Valentine’s more ‘chilled out’ songs. It strikes me as a real standout track of the album, and offers us some momentary relief from the wall of noise and heavy fuzz-led punk assault the previous eight tracks confront us with. It also marks a turning point as there seems to be a change in the attitude of the album from this point. ‘Ledged Up’ is a fast-paced riff-orientated indie/garage rock tune. It’s probably the only song on the album that actually makes me want to dance. Finally, the album finishes on ‘Tick Tock’, yet another very ‘different’ track on this album. It’s hard to describe. All I can really say is that it feels as though the album should finish here. In a good way. It’s an excellent sign off to a frankly average album.
However, that said, I am looking forward to Odonis Odonis’s next album. Due in spring 2012 and promising to be less distorted, I am eager to see what Tzenos can produce for us. In Hollandaze, he clearly proves his potential and, certainly in the last three tracks, his music seems to grow. But, for now, I’m afraid this is an album that will probably stay on the shelf for me.