REVIEW: OroborO infuses Laughing Death with deranged clarity
Every once in a while, a local band plays a tiny bar on a random side street and the performance is one of the best and tightest I’ve ever seen. That was my experience seeing Massachusetts-based OroborO last Friday, and I haven’t stopped thinking about the show — or listening to their album Laughing Death — ever since.
Laughing Death is a trip. Experimental, psychedelic vocals from Emily Carter are backed by airtight instrumentals from guitarist Nate Kellogg, bassist Spencer Gusha, and drummer Jordan Frick. Carter moves effortlessly from gravelly moans to shrieking choruses before diving into perfectly-balanced screams that mid-aughts post-hardcore bands would envy. While she sings, she bounces around the stage, weaves figure eights through the crowd, and ignites the same shrill energy in everyone else present — most especially Kellogg, Gusha, and Frick.
OroborO’s sound draws from a number of obvious and less-than-obvious influences. While Carter’s lyricism and vocal stylings invoke Amanda Palmer and The Dresden Dolls (especially on tracks like “Little Centipede”), her movements on stage bring to mind La Dispute’s Jordan Dreyer. Meanwhile, Kellogg’s guitar work draws influences like Modest Mouse and Pile to the forefront of a listener’s mind and Gusha’s bass marries with Frick’s drums to establish one living, breathing entity that evokes bands like Sonic Youth or even Tool.
Like I said, Laughing Death is a trip. It’s obvious from seeing OroborO perform that each member of the band is deeply invested in the sound. They balance each other beautifully, working in tandem to produce a sound that is cleaner and more dynamic than anything I’ve heard in a long time.
There are just 7 tracks on this album and each of them is as interesting and evocative as the last, but crowd favorites “Little Centipede” and “Baked Acid” are absolute gems. If you need a summer record that isn’t super poppy and will last you into the colder fall months, check out Laughing Death. And if you’re in New England, go to an OroborO show. You won’t regret it.