So… how about Boston, huh? As a lifelong New Englander, I can’t say it’s the most… endearing town in our region, but goddamn, what a music scene! You know all the heavy hitters: Converge, Isis, Cave In, Caspian, Elder. Then there’s the sneaky-good crop of bands that have been seething just beneath the surface for years like Kayo Dot, Maudlin of the Well and Constants. There’s also a huge new wave of bands stepping up and making noise, including Astronoid, Pray For Sound, Glacier, HarborLights, SOM, reprieve. (stay tuned) and Circus Trees. Well, we can now add OroborO to that always-expanding and wildly impressive list. This youthful quartet emerged quietly in early 2018 but now have two releases under their belt and are releasing a two song tape on September 13th titled Climb/Gutted via Flesh and Bone Records, which features today’s premiere track, “Gutted.”
The first thing that stands out about “Gutted” (and OroborO’s output in general to this point) is the confidence of the composition and performance. It’s not a matter of being virtuosic, but rather the way that the members gel as a collective, putting forth music that is always unique, often bizarre and for sure gives zero fucks about pandering to anyone. They have such a distinct sound and natural chemistry that you’d believe they’ve been playing together forever. But in reality they’re barely out of college and into their twenties, which makes the fearlessness with which they approach their music even more impressive and intriguing. They seem equally comfortable attacking lengthy, multi-textured tracks as they are quick bursts of unbridled energy, and display an unpredictability that suggests a whole lot of promise going forward.
“Gutted” is a strong example of what to expect from OroborO, an entrancing mélange of post-punk, art rock and noise rock with hints of doom and sludge lurking on the edges, that’s just deranged enough to keep you off-balance, but also focused enough to maintain your full attention. Singer Emily Carter is a revelation, skillfully walking a very fine line between unhinged and engaging, and pulling off the difficult task of appearing to be shooting from the hip while in reality executing her chosen aesthetic with exacting precision. But it’s not just about the vocal performance. Guitarist Nate Kellogg pulls off a similar feat as Carter in the same moments, flying breathlessly through a cacophony of varying tones and stylistic flourishes, but ultimately presenting something that’s feverishly creative and assertively composed. Bassist Spencer Gusha and drummer Jordan Frick are faced with no minor task, working in tandem to hold this madness together while also feeling free to contribute their own expressive accents.
The video is the newest in a series of recent works from Documavision, which is the brainchild of Cloakroom‘s Bobby Markos. It works perfectly with OroborO’s musical style, presenting a pastiche of seemingly disparate images that somehow end up coming together to establish a thematic through-line. Markos has previously worked on videos for Spirit of the Beehive, Horse Jumper of Love, and Brady.
You don’t get many opportunities to experience fresh-faced bands that embrace experimentalism to this extent while simultaneously presenting fully-formed, exciting ideas that are 100% born from within, defying the usual “for fans of” indicators. They don’t sound like anyone other than themselves, no small feat in this day and age. That alone should make them well-worth exploring further.
You can check out OroborO’s previous releases via their Bandcamp page, and pre-order the tape from Flesh and Bone Records now. The band is opening for David Liebe Hart at Thunder Road in Boston on September 13th to celebrate the new release.