Updated: Mar 12, 2021
Artist: Exploded View
Label: Sacred Bones Records
Non-Airable Tracks: None
Description: Obey is the second album by Exploded View, an indie/alternative band comprised of Martin Thulin, Hugo Quezada, and singer Anika Henderson. Hypnotizing, dream-like, and employing elements of airy psychedelia through haunting background vocals, Obey sounds like the love child of your worst nightmare and your most blissful fantasy, whatever the hell that means.
“Lullaby”, the slow-paced, jarring instrumental intro track, utilizes a combination of low tones and soft guitar-picking to engender a feeling of tranquility and contentment coupled with paranoia. The result is a song that refuses to deposit any preconceived notions into the minds of the listeners and leaves its meaning open for interpretation. Due to the particularly subjective nature of the album’s songs, I feel that Obey makes a salient, insightful point about the multifaceted nature of music, as well as the diverse range of emotions certain songs may evoke.
Just as with a high, the listening experience of this album holds the potential for either overwhelming existential dread and waning faith in God, or Freudian regression into a euphoric childlike state that leaves you writhing in the fetal position while your friends assure you that you are not, in fact, dead.
This album has a quality to it that is unlike many of its contemporaries: it sounds neither inauthentic nor ingenuous. In the song “Dark Stains”, lead singer Henderson, over New
Order-style synthesizer and increasingly frantic background clapping, monotonously professes the song’s subject to be “in a constant battle” with themselves, “fighting those ghosts of the past.” Then, in an almost instructional, tough-yet-loving tone, Henderson assures the subject that “Bad inheritance is no excuse, and you can break this. You can break this…”
Obey, despite undergoing a gradual decrease in quality in its latter half (with the exception of “Sleepers”), provides the optimal sound for both those seeking equanimity and those who are partial towards mental sadomasochism. Consequently, inner peace-seeking and leather-donning persons alike might want to give this album a listen.
On a final note, I would like to point out that, though I am in no way advocating for drug usage, this album is an entirely different experience whilst under the influence of jazz cabbage. Take that as you will.
Sounds Like: Marching Church, Preoccupations, creepy Gregorian chanting
Reviewer’s Name: Marisa Latzman
Date of Review: 10/4/18