Ooze — Shivers (2020)

Today, the RobustFellow label presents the second mini-album of the band Ooze, which managed to change the sound quite a lot in a year. We tell you what to expect from this work. 

Do you remember that almost biblical saying "Stop comparing yourself to others, be your own competition?" When listening to "Shivers", a sophomore release by the Ukrainian band Ooze from Vasylkiv, you`ll fail to compare even despite that desire. Same can hardly be said for their debut release, because as far as it is concerned, there is a lot to compare, as the change of genre is obvious ("Shivers" was mixed at "LipkyZvukoZapys" and released via the label Robustfellow, the way the band`s debut album was). Anyway, is it not a bit too bold to speak about the genre, bearing in mind that these guys don`t really like toeing the line?

The sophomore release is perceived as if it were one continuous song with fluctuations and changes of mood and states of consciousness within its scope. But it`s not as simple as that. Having listened to whole release, I`ve found myself in a bit of a lost state of mind. By the end of the album the journey is to be over, and the listener is expected to come back to reality, while speaking of "Shivers" the situation is quite reverse. After listening to the release, you get the impression that the journey has just begun, which makes you listen to "Shivers" again and again, each time discovering new meanings – as if digging in layers and layers of your own subconscious. This EP is a journey, a journey into one's own depths, to one's own subconscious. The album is a post-rock symphony, with elements of psychedelia, and sometimes even folk and ambient infused into it. After almost twenty-one minutes of dense sound pouring in on the listener in waves, causing a number of confusing associations, the journey does not end, but only begins.

Debut album of the band

Unlike the band`s first release, the EP instrumental. Maxym (guitar), Yehor (bass) and Zhenya (drums) this time are joined by Natalia Ivasiuk. The violin, of which Natalia has a masterful command, takes over the functions of the voice, grasping the listener's attention and being the whole album`s axis. Violin takes us to the top of the mountain ("Hankering of the Mountaintop"), rescues from the ambitions` captivity ("Ambitions Blight") and helps us realize that death and demise are all illusory feelings ("Faulty Feeling of Demise"), creations of consciousness enslaved by illusions.

My initial impressions from the release, as from a continuous journey (a disturbing one), turned out to be quite explainable. I learned from the band members that the recording was done in one take, as in the good old days which is a bold step for modern musicians. Same can be said about experiments with the genre: it is really brave to experiment while recording your sophomore release, which is considered to be the most difficult to record.

The disturbing journey begins with "Got a Long Journey Ahead" – a prelude to immersion into the depths of your own subconscious. Careful first steps, an acquaintance with your own facets. A little wary, on tiptoe, groping, like – is-it-all-real?

"Hankering for the Mountaintop" is like climbing the imaginary mountain. Because of the name, I can't help but mention "The Holy Mountain" by Alejandro Jodorowsky. In my opinion, "Shivers" could be a good soundtrack to the movie.

"Ambitions Blight" is the least calming song on the mini-album. Anxiety begins to grow right away, with the first seconds of the track: repeating a monotonous, dissonant, hysterical-growing pattern for half a minute, the violin whirls into a twisted, spiral-like curve. Like a storm on Walpurgis Night. The anxious and sticky drum rhythm enhances the effect. The picture changes, but the anxiety does not subside.

"Faulty Feeling of Demise" is an atmospheric track, with violin being pensive and gloomy after the previous track. It is difficult to determine any certain mood of the song, in the finest sense of this word. And its length allows conveying more than one message, making the track multi-layered. Eleven minutes is not a very radio-friendly format, and it is unlikely for such a lengthy song to be rotated on a popular radio station, but fortunately, there still are the musicians who have enough courage to record long instrumental pieces. The mignon will definitely be noticed by the connoisseurs.

"Shivers" is a multi-layered release, and you should not expect any unambiguous and comprehensive answers from it, neither in the meaning of the genre nor in other meanings. But it is the multilayeredness that forces us to start this journey through the musical landscape again and again, and constantly return to "Shivers", immersing ourselves into its disturbing story, experiencing something new that comes in the foreground of it with every new listening. Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comforted. And Ooze have successfully substantiated this concept.

OOZE — ukrainian multi-genre band formed at the end of 2018 by Maksym Salov, Yehor Druzenko and Yevhen Khrulov. In September 2019, the band released their first material in the form of a music video for "Pillars of Creation", which is a song from the debut EP, "Cableway", released later that year. On October 31, OOZE signed a contract with the Ukrainian label Robust Fellow Prods, with the support of which in 2020 the band released a second EP called "Shivers". In addition, violinist Natalia Ivasyuk joined the band.

The opinions expressed in the reviews convey the views of the authors themselves and do not necessarily reflect the position of Neformat.com.ua

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1. Got a Long Journey Ahead
2. Hankering for the Mountaintop
3. Ambitions Blight
4. Faulty Feeling of Demise