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Album Review: Oy Vey – Botanical Curiosity

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The header of New York/Chicago based duo Oy Vey‘s website plainly declares themselves “an electro pop band”. While accurate, infectious hooks, electronic beat work, and synth soundscapes are prominent on their supremely enjoyable debut Botanical Curiosity, the New Hampshire-bred pair are not giving themselves enough credit. Oy Vey’s seamless incorporation of everything from Bowie-esque antics to straightforward rock moments recalling Springsteen and even a piano-based ballad throughout Botanical‘s 13 tracks results in an album much more rich than typical bedroom-produced pop, deserving of close and repeated listens.

Botanical Curiosity kicks off strong with “Astronauta”, whose smooth mix of psychedelia and danceable beats instantly lures in the listener. Its crescendo into a surprise proggy ending serves as an accurate summary of the record, as it’s impossible to predict, yet accomplished with finesse and interminable energy. “Like Me” picks back up on the space theme later on, but in the mean time, the expected party pop-rock anthems “White Lies” and “Idiot” hog the spotlight – putting forth simple, strong hooks and begging to be blasted from a car stereo. The album doesn’t end up being all fun and games, as the listeners are subjected to moments of strong narratives and pensive lyrics on slower tunes “Barcelona” and “Voice on the Stage” – both demonstrating the songwriting talent that could have otherwise been shrouded by flashy electronics.

If there was one word to unite the party anthems, quirky outer space jams, and irresistible bass grooves that make up Botanical Curiosity, it would undeniably be creative. The record bleeds a contagious willingness to try everything once, mixing seemingly incongruous parts to a greater whole. Sure, some experiments fall flat, such as excessive banger “The Verge”, but the astronomically high highs of the record on the whole prove Oy Vey’s method of music potpourri to be not only a fun one, but a fruitful one.

Essential Tracks: “Like Me”, “White Lies”

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