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Birmingham's Odmansbox, A Low Key Affair - EP review

By Leigh Sanders | Entertainment | Published:

Former Unsigned column stars Odmansbox are back with their second EP - another four-track window into the weird and at-times wonderful workshop where they craft these genre-bending, light, pop-rock numbers.

The EP's cover

A Low Key Affair might sound like a damp squib. But don't be foolish enough to believe everything you read in a title.

Bending an ear to the likes of Arcade Fire, Django Django, Hot Chip - the band describe themselves as a "jumble sale of influences".

Having impressed with their debut release last year, the Birmingham trio headed off to Lincolnshire to record its follow up with Dave Formula, owner of the Sweet Factory and former keyboardist with Magazine.

Birmingham's Odmansbox Photo: Vlad Cristian-Costache

The subjects under the periscope this time include teenage love, the cost of weddings, and the dreams of the 1960s, again showing their varied and, well, Odmansbox view of the world.

The lead single off this release, Take The Money & Run, displayss everything you need to know. Its keyboard intro, reminiscent of some haunting elevator music, opens up into a quick-paced, almost agitated guitar riff that serves to both impress and keep you on your toes. It mixes the worlds of pop-rock and electro masterfully, with a chorus that sounds both contemporary and deliciously retro.

Opening track OId Age Can't Come Too Soon tinkers with and combines the same contrasting elements like a mechanic creating an armour-plated tank that can take off like a helicopter. That delicious pre-chorus melody evokes sunshine-tinged memories of the summers of yesteryear, before we are slapped back into normality through that deep, reverberating bass. This one sounds very much like another former Unsigned column alumni - The Black Country's Grande Valise.

READ MORE: Unsigned Birmingham band Odmansbox plot next EP release

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The bass-heavy Swoon is the deepest, darkest material here. Like a bad dream sequence it plinks and plonks innocently at times before they keys disappear and we are left with the gaping hole of the meandering bassline in front of us.

And the title track has an on-edge intro that never really lets up. It keeps us guessing as to what is coming next and never really lets you quite relax into the music. It works. The pace changes don't jar and they successfully pull off a difficult songwriting skill.

Rating: 6/10

Odmansbox are supporting PJJ at Birmingham's The Sunflower Lounge on August 25 alongside North By North and Kinds Of Light

Leigh Sanders

By Leigh Sanders
@LSanders_Star

Senior sub editor for the MNA portfolio and entertainments writer leaning towards features and reviews. Get releases to me at leigh.sanders@expressandstar.co.uk

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