Oyama, a noise rock/shoegazing quintet from Reykjavik, have self-released their debut EP called I Wanna. And when they were in the UK last month I really did want to see them live.
I’ve been playing I Wanna pretty much non-stop since it landed on my laptop, digitally speaking. Full of reverb, skillful drumming, slightly discordant vocals and energy, the 6-song collection has become a firm favourite of mine, and has made the transition from iPod to iPhone.
Opening track Sleep opens with droning guitars and haunting vocals. One thing about the vocals here is the way that the deeper tones of Ulfur (one of the guitarists) and Julia compliment each other, so much so that they sound like thick treacle pouring down your throat.
Oyama have been gaining favourable comparisons to earlier shoegazing acts such as Sonic Youth and the recently resurrected My Bloody Valentine, and with Shade it is easy to understand why. Underneath the reverb there are, swirling away just begging to be concentrated upon, licks and riffs that make listening carefully such a rewarding experience.
Everything Some of the Time is a dreamy internal duet that moves along at a steady pace; but don’t let the pace lull you into thinking that it’s a sedate affair. The drumming of Runar is at its most impressive here during the verses – especially the opening one. I can’t really describe it, but the drum stick clicking is wonderful to say the least.
The closing track is entitled The Garden, and if I was still DJing at the other place (yes, I know I sound Parliamentarian there) then it would have been played several times in one show! Probably opening, halfway through and then at the end.
The noise-rock leanings come through strong here, with the breakdown being Sonic Youth inspired – guitars and bass warblings being performed over a drum beat attempting to hold everything together. The chorus is perhaps the element of the song that gripped me the most at the first listen. “I sleep when I’m awake/I wake when I’m asleep” left me wondering what exactly goes on in Iceland these days.
Simply put, Oyama are bloody excellent. I’d have no hesitation in dropping everything to go and see them. if they ever play anywhere near Manchester!