There’s not a single indication on this album that Daniel Blumberg is also the frontman for the gritty lo-fi rock group Yuck. Blumberg embraces his chance at a solo sound with Oupa, creating an entirely new persona. Ditching the high energy and fun relied upon for Yuck, Oupa is moody, with sorrow pervading the tracks from eerie vocals and piano.
Forget is an album of slow, heavy ballads, with Blumberg’s heartbroken vocals recounting tales of despair. With little to rely on instrumentally, his raw emotion as a lyricist keeps the album from drifting off entirely. Opener “Driving” immediately sets the tone of regret and longing that remains throughout the recording. “I have never seen a face that hit me so hard,” Blumberg sings, his voice echoing, hollow against the solitary backing of piano.
Sadness is outlined in beauty, allowing tracks to be melancholy but not overwhelmingly so. Title track “Forget” best represents this feeling. Dark piano backs his repeated falsetto urge, moaning that “you can’t forget me now.” At times, his pleas are so hushed that a slight crackle filters through.
The halfway point on Forget is when, for brief moments, the heavy pace at which the record moves becomes too much, lost in languid piano and few vocals. Previously released “Physical” begins with warm, slow keys, a slight brush of drums backing the nearly seven-minute track. Certainly haunting, there’s nothing to keep listeners engaged when vocals fade, leading to whispered mutters and ahh’s. There is also the 11-minute closer, “Those Are the Senses”, in which a rare burst of guitar is lost in a repetitive, ticktock Renaissance pattern that crawls along slowly, losing its luster.
Achieving beauty through the ugliest of emotions, Forget is a whisper of Blumberg’s deepest thoughts. If all his whispered confessions had remained short and sweet in simplicity, Forget would have packed a much deeper punch.
Essential Tracks: ”Driving”, ”Forget”, and “New Home”