Published Jul 01, 2016Consisting of Olivia "Liv" Hally (vocals, guitar) and Pepita "Pepi" Emmerichs (violin, mandolin), Australian outfit Oh Pep! have penned plenty of standout tracks for their debut, Stadium Cake, an album brimming with examples of their vibrant potential.
Highlight "Wanting" features belching horn notes, chug-a-lug country percussion and guitar work that give it a timeless feel. It features both deft lyrics like "You don't know how to breathe, breathing happens naturally" and clunkier subsequent lines like, "I'm coming up for air and see that you're not there." Opening track "Bushwick," is more successful on this front, thanks to its breezy instrumentation that's directly opposed to its distraught lyrics about cars that "won't stop, won't even slow" as the protagonist "slips on the sidewalk."
The album's best number, though, is "Tea Milk and Honey," on which Oh Pep! sound as if Feist and Tegan and Sara formed a supergroup a decade ago thanks to the gently staccato phrasing of Liv's vocals, the lilting high notes she uses to punctuate stanzas, the soft but stirring instrumentation (including a cushiony thudding bass drum) and lines like: "She makes me swoon when she walks in the room / She wakes up early and she leaves too soon."
Relocating to Halifax to record with producer Daniel Ledwell (the spouse and frequent collaborator of Hali heroine Jenn Grant) seemingly steeped the duo in modern Canadiana, and that's quite alright, because Stadium Cake is accomplished enough to leave a mark of its own on future folk and indie pop artists. (Dine Alone)