It is currently mid-June, temperatures in the mid to high 20 Celsiuses, and there hasn't been a drop of rain for the better part of 10 days in Southern Ontario. So much sunshine. Gardens blooming. Everywhere, strangers' genuine happiness emanating neighborhood sidewalks because of the positive, vitamin D weather. And the school year is almost complete, too. Happy days are here again, goddammit! Alas, blasting into my midnight ears was a full force darkwave from the Toronto-based duo, Odonis Odonis.
Their current six song EP, ICON, carries on from its poignant predecessor, Spectrums, with industrial laden tranced electronics and Lynchian vibes. At times, the unintelligible distorted screams on the backdrop of TV white noise synths feel familiar, but the duo have presented them upon a different palate. In doing so, each track utilized guest musicians; obviously meant to enhance the music, not to save it as potential cop outs. And as I have delved into Odonis Odonis' catalog, Dean and Denholm have created unique atmospherics that need no saving. Walking with them, hands-in-hand into the ominosity, are A Place To Bury Strangers, TOBACCO, Terror Bird, ACTORS, SUUNS, and Patriarchy; welcomed on this brief journey to Mordor with their own special set of skills. “Breadth” is clearly the name of the game here.
The opening track 'Model' (featuring A Place To Bury Strangers) has its biggest listening payoff with the repetitive cries of "I will fuck things up" until the breakthrough static clouds with an instrumental section that didn't last long enough.
A personal favourite and standout track, 'No One Left', features members of Vancouver's new wave ambassadors, ACTORS. Straight drum machine work, single notes plucked on reverbed guitars, and dreamy backing vocals feel like a continued homage to ‘80s post-punk. Much like 'More' from the Spectrums LP, they don't feel out of place from a Depeche Mode and Human League tour, as a melodic island on an otherwise, industrial-focused record.
The vocal styles across the six songs resemble the four horsemen of some sort of goth-pocalypse. The aforementioned distorted vocals, the megaphoned sing-talk, the faux-British debonair wording, and the darkened female perspective. All four take their turns and at times work together very well. ICON is an in-and-out record that delivers the best of Odonis Odonis and friends. Without focused listening, you'll miss the nuances from a solid production, mix and master.
And as icons are seen throughout the zeitgeist looking down upon us mere mortals, the one slight ICON presents here is its short run time, just over 19 minutes over six tracks. Understandably so, with the amount of personnel collaborating on claustrophobically layered audio pleasures, perfect for every goth club to alternative cocktail bars with an undiagnosed ADHD-riddled child in the corner fervently turning the house lights off and on.