‘Apnea’ is the second studio album by indie-band O.Children. The band draws on many influences for this album, making a record that sounds not completely dissimilar to a Joy Division record. There is a moodiness to a lot of the songs on the album, invoking many different emotions. What really attributes to this general feeling on the album is Tobi O’Kandi’s deep baritone vocals seem to have a power to draw the listener in, which when accompanied by a rather dark-sounding instrumentals in the songs, make for what is a very dark and impressive second album.
The album seems to flick between very dark songs, and other lighter songs which only sound dark due to the vocals. There is a good balance between dark and light songs (or light in terms of O. Children). Some of the songs can almost be described as being quite jolly to a certain degree. It is interesting, and certainly shows what the band is capable of in terms of both their song-writing talent, and their performance. The album’s real stand out moments seem to be when the album favours a darker song over a lighter song, but that isn’t to say that the more lighter ones aren’t as good as the darker one. On the contrary, they’re some of the best material the band has written. I find that with my personal preference, I prefer it when the instrumentation is more moody and dramatic, than when it’s lighter and more jolly. That being said, some of the best songs on the album are the lighter ones. It is an interesting move, as it seems to separate them from Joy Division, which is very wise of them as a band if they wish to progress further. The album certainly demonstrates a very good understanding of song-writing, and song-performance. It is O’Kandi’s vocals which really helps to make not just the album, but the whole band stand out. It draws you in and forces you to listen, giving the band a commanding force in their performance.
There are many songs that stand out on the album. The highlight of the whole album is the vocals, but they are accompanied by some very well thought out instrumentation. The album starts off on a fairly dark note with the track ‘Holy Wood’, which has a guitar line at the beginning that draws the listener in. Another one of these songs is the lighter song ‘I Know (You Love Me) which is more slower-paced than some of the other strong songs on the album, and could be described as one of the more lighter and jolly songs on the album (or jolly in terms of the whole album’s overall feeling). It takes a while to build up, which makes it a strong way to open the album as it allows time for the listener to be drawn into the whole experience of the album. The album’s final track ‘Chimera’ is also a strong song, with it being one of the more darker and faster paced songs. The instrumentation is very strong on this track, with the vocals accompanying it perfectly. It is very dark, and serves as a perfect closer for the whole album, rounding it off pretty much where it started.
Overall, as an album, ‘Apnea’ is a strong album for a band that is ready to burst into the mainstream. It has a driving force that goes throughout each song, and manages to flit in and out of dark and light songs with remarkable ease. The album isn’t perfect, but it is a strong effort for such a young band. The song-writing is very well planned and thought out on the album, and is reinforced by great instrumentals in the songs, and incredibly powerful vocals. What is interesting is how the band has managed to draw on some very interesting influences, and use them in the writing of their songs, but at the same time, make the music sound quintessentially theirs. This is a band that will warrant keeping your eye on, as they can only expect to reach higher heights in the coming years.
- ★★★★☆ 4/5
- Holy Wood
- I Know (You Love Me)
- Solid Eyes