OBERHOFER – Time Capsules II (Glassnote)

Oberhofer is pretty much just 21 year-old Brad Oberhofer writing, playing and singing, with a few mates helping out. He writes songs with titles such as ‘Away Frm U’ and ‘Yr Face’, and so you could be forgiven for thinking that this is another grungy kid writing songs indebted to Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jnr, but add in the fact that he managed to get Steve Lillywhite to produce this and you start to realise that this is someone who takes his music very seriously. ‘HEART’ opens with a lovely piano melody, and the ensuing tune has enough twists and turns to stop it becoming boring while still holding your attention with its lush production. ‘Landline’ is a simpler song, and you get to hear Brad playing at being a garage rocker, with some suitably grungy guitar under the still accessible tune. ‘Away Frm U’ is another great indie rocker, and the pace doesn’t let up for the equally up-beat ‘I Could Go’, finally slowing slightly for the indie-ballad ‘Yr Face’. ‘oOoO’ has a chorus that you would expect from the title, but Lillywhite certainly chucks everything into the production, with odd instruments appearing out of nowhere at random places in the song. If Brad wanted a single from this album then ‘Cruising FDR’ would be it, replete as it is with a catchy chorus, good backing vocals and a rollicking tune. ‘Gold’ is more of the same, and although a lot of these songs might start to sound very similar at this point, that is because, apart from ‘Yr Face’, Oberhofer does not let the pace slip for a second. Every song rushes past in a blur, and although they all have great tunes and choruses, and the standard of playing is generally very high, they cannot help but blend together. When a track like ‘Haus’ comes along it is something of a relief to be able to catch your breath and enjoy something that doesn’t feel it has to sprint to the end, and its five minutes-plus playing time also means that Lillywhite gets a chance to add some effective strings and beef up the production. ‘Homebro’ strips it back even further, closing the album with an acoustic ballad, and although there are points where you think the band will kick in they hold back and keep it simple. This album won’t be for everyone, as it sounds rough and ready in places, despite having a name producer on board, but there are some good songs on here, and for anyone into lo-fi indie then there is much to enjoy.