Ohmme: Fantasize Your Ghost (Joyful Noise) Review | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Monday, August 15th, 2022  

Fantasize Your Ghost

Joyful Noise

Jun 11, 2020 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Chicago art rock band Ohmme built their careers in their city’s thriving experimental music scene, playing with mainstays as diverse as Jeff Tweedy, Whitney, and Vic Mensa. The band’s work focuses on rich vocal harmonies and innovative guitar experimentations, stretching the limits of what can be done with just guitars, vocals, and percussion. Their newest work, Fantasize Your Ghost, continues to push these boundaries with another set of richly textured guitar experiments.

Sima Cunningham and Macie Stewart continue to be excellent collaborators with a gorgeous interplay of both vocals and guitar work. The opener, “Flood Your Gut,” places their vocal chemistry at the forefront, especially on the stately refrain where the percussion drops out leaving only the duo’s vocals and angular lead guitar lines. The band also shows that it is capable of constructing legitimately catchy hooks while selling a proud and angry vocal tone on “Ghost.” Cunningham and Stewart also continue to show dynamic flexibility in their vocals, interlocking and pulling apart in an understated performance on the spacey, reverb-heavy track, “Some Kind of Calm.”

The experimental nature of the project is all the more impressive considering the band uses the same essential building blocks for each song. Guitar, vocals, and percussion make up their instrumental basis but tracks such as the driving “Selling Candy” create a very different mood than the sunny and pastoral closer, “After All.” The way the band plays with guitar effects, as well as their varied vocal performances, keep most every song feeling fresh and distinct. The breadth on display here is a testament to the band’s range and improvisational ability.

The band does expand the instrumental palette somewhat with orchestral touches on “Spell It Out” and “3 2 4 3.” These moments of additional instrumental variety add some texture and detail to the songs, such as the discordant strings in the background of “Spell It Out.” They set an underlying mood of unease that gains in intensity before bursting into an orchestral crescendo. However, as with the band’s debut (2018’s Parts), the focus of the album seems to be on exploring the possibilities of the sounds the band can make with their voices and guitars.

Some of the band’s experiments do have more of a payoff than others. While “Spell It Out” does end up repaying the listener’s attention, “Twitch” doesn’t add much instrumentally or aesthetically to the album, ending up uncharacteristically unremarkable for the group. Meanwhile, the sparse electronic instrumental soundscape of “Sturgeon Moon” feels rather formless. However, the sounds the band are able to wrest from their instruments do make the song an interesting listen, if a rather obtuse one. While every song here is not engaging across the board, it is still a pleasure to see a band looking to find new avenues to explore in guitar music.

Similar to the band’s previous album, Fantasize Your Ghost documents the thriving creative partnership Cunningham and Stewart have. The interlocking guitar and vocal passages, as well as the band’s unique approach to art rock, are the selling points of the album. Although this record does tread some of the same ground as its predecessor, the duo at the center of the project remain captivating collaborators. (www.ohmmemusic.com)

Author rating: 7/10

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Average reader rating: 5/10


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