A massive sixteen-track release from Oro Swimming Hour that gives you a sense of wellbeing and general ‘feel good’ vibes. Daft in places and self-confessed lo-fi bedroom music, but Penrose Winos is no rushed record and should be in no sense under-valued as a collection of soft and almost melancholic tracks. Available on vinyl LP.
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The case for bedroom pop being the best genre of music of all time is simple: they made it in bed, which is objectively earth’s Only Good Place. Here my argument is cemented by indie solicitors Oro Swimming Hour, who sound like they’ve rolled out of a glorious amalgam of duvet and pillow in an effort to clamour toward their instruments. On ‘Penrose Winoa’, they prove that a record this homely and intimate can still be a stinging emotional experience.
What a surprise of a gem of a treat this record is. It feels new without having to be new; the band recreate delicate indie pop in a weird way of their own without ever really pointing it out. Referencing Elliott Smith with shades of those who’ve already put him in their footnotes (think of Alex G’s wayside sadness and Trust Fund’s acoustic guitar timewarps), ‘Penrose Winoa’ provides the kind of songs that grow loud in their quiet; murmured but shouted, the group work noisy elements into their acoustic guitar pop, taking twisted keyboards, odd humming and lovely gang vocals into songs like “Marshal Arts Washing Cars”. The buzzing incidental noises and recorded field sounds of “Alice Trappings” give it a closeness unlike any song of its ilk; the riffy, amped “Overturn” folds its suggestions of post-punk back into the cosy, folksy world to which they belong.
Records like this come and go, and occasionally a band gets it so very right: Oro Swimming Hour, with their endless drift of strums and gentle picks, do something ineffably special, combining their watery production, gulped lyrical woes and given-up chord progressions into a record that makes me feel like I’m actually within it, rather than putting the volume up to try and grasp the grainy details. Throw in their love of haphazard sound wizardry, and it’s kinda like falling through the Alice In Wonderland rabbit hole to find yourself emo on the other side. Wonderful.
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