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O’o – Spells Review

Experimental electronica chopping vocal harmonies like a sous chef.

What does O’o sound like?

Esoteric electro-pop, with a penchant for vocal harmonies.

The review of O’o – Spells

Spanish duo O’o is a wildly experimental pair that take snippets of sound and translate them into unusual primal rhythms and elemental motifs. Following on from their debut album ‘Touche’, which is getting a deluxe release this June, ‘Spells’ is an EP that took me a few listens to really gel with. I’m glad I stuck with it though as O’o have a bewitching presence if you enjoy the esoteric side of electro-pop.

photo of O'o

The release opens with ‘Moho’ which feels like is desperately trying to not encircle a full riff or melody. Instead warped sound snippets cascade around a rumbling drum and arpeggiator with plenty of odd squeaky noises playfully making noise too. It’s like the song is drawing you somewhere without spelling it out. ‘Rewind’ on the other hand is all about the deep dubs and flattened bass. Tribal drums sound like they’re playing through a gramophone whilst keyboards and organs allude to something darker and experimental. Victoria Suter’s vocals are sublime here, moving from sultry to ambiguous as they wrap back and forth on themselves. The biggest piece on the first half is the epic ‘Alone’. This piece is a personal favourite from the EP. It starts out subdued for the first half before kicking into a frantic electronica shoegaze of noise, beats and celestial shimmers of keyboards for the second half. It sounds vast, empty, harsh and angry but manages to keep its beauty from the first half lurking around.

Whilst most tracks have a start-small-and-build-up structure, ‘Spell’ is the most direct O’o track on the EP. Tribal rhythms pulsate under a thunderous kick drum and warped zither strums create the melodic synths whilst Victoria’s vocal is robotised. After the track draws you in, it veers into a more experimental second half with quirky vocal snippets creating a trippy underworld chant. Vocal harmonies are a huge part of O’o and ‘Pendulum’ showcases this best. With the line ‘digging a hole, my dark hearts grave’ on repeat, more harmonies join in to create a rhythmic purge. The stilted drums, woodwind and electric piano notes give a dystopian morning haze to the track and the drums sound like horses hooves too. This leads towards the EP finale – ‘Fuel’. From the sublime backing vocals that sound captured from a black-and-white movie to the skittish electric guitar noodles, there is a heavenly otherworld sense to the track. Its hypnotic throb draws you into its blissful world. However, after four minutes of beauty, the song transitions into a visceral tribal rave. Distorted beats, industrial groans and siren bleeps – have we fuelled up too much?

O’o are so ambiguous, their music may pass you by on first listen. It’s not always immediate to your ear but their music is full of curiosity. Each track sounds like peeling back a curtain to something greater and I found ‘Spells’ to be more rewarding each listen. It is a grower, not a shower and there is nothing wrong with that. I’m intrigued to hear where the duo go next.

Recommended track: Alone

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O'o - Spells



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