Oh Land’s latest album odd, other-worldly sonic experiment

Internationally renowned singer-songwriter Oh Land graces listeners with a weird, untouchable style all her own.  (Photo provided by commons.wikimedia.org)
Internationally renowned singer-songwriter Oh Land graces listeners with a weird, untouchable style all her own. (Photo provided by commons.wikimedia.org)

At the age of 29, Nanna Øland Fabricius has released a thorough collection of music. With three albums fully released and a fourth on the way, the quirky pop singer better known as Oh Land is ready to grace the music industry once again with her latest venture, “Earth Sick.”

Well known internationally, Oh Land’s U.S. audience has remained relatively small. Despite her hit single “Sun Of A Gun,” which charted on the Billboard Dance charts and was featured on various music video shows like VH1’s “Top 20 Countdown” in 2010, Oh Land’s lasting power in the U.S. has consisted mostly of niche audiences.

Focusing heavily on wispy vocals paired with obtrusive beats, Oh Land’s “Earth Sick” showcases the young singer-songwriter’s classic and irreplaceable style. Seemingly extraterrestrial, “Earth Sick” borders the pop genre with experimental sounds and odd song constructions some audiences may not understand. It is as if Oh Land wants listeners to be thrown off as she leads them to believe a track is one thing before adding in new synth layers and awkward, out-of-place sounds.

A perfect example of this is on “Favor Friends.” Arguably one of the more pop-based tracks on the album, this track begins just as any other indie-pop track. Wispy vocals paired with an edgier, soon-to-be-dropped beat help “Favor Friends” begin in a space of surface level pop music. Soon though, Oh Land flips the script with odd strings and moments of operatic vocals. It is a catchy beast of a song.

On “Nothing Is Over,” Oh Land bares all. Softer than some of the album’s more engaging tracks, “Nothing Is Over” is sweet and intimate. Feelings of content will rush over listeners, as they are subdued into a relaxing dream-like trance.

“Little Things” is the most off-center track on “Earth Sick.” Looping synths and sometimes inaudible vocals turn this swirling doozy into a nearly indescribable moment of sensations. It is atmospheric and enticing, but also slightly off-putting. With little sense to be made, “Little Things” will leave listeners with the feeling they just read Plato’s “Republic.”

The album’s lead single titled “Head Up High,” acts as the most pop-oriented track off “Earth Sick.” Danceable and fun, the melody of “Head Up High,” features a ‘90s vibe as Oh Land’s screeching hooks draw in audiences. Bubbling beneath throughout the majority of the track’s play time, each chorus break is like an explosion of fun.

“Hot & Bothered” is the most entertaining track off “Earth Sick.” Fiery and uniquely herself, Oh Land’s “Hot & Bothered” invokes a head banging, rock-like moment out of the record. Most comparable to artist St. Vincent, “Hot & Bothered” is angry and intense. Never able to lay low, Oh Land’s “Hot & Bothered” is the much needed anthem to telling someone off.

“Earth Sick” has times when inexplicitly odd combinations of vocals, beats and structuring leave listeners questioning what they just experienced. But, looking past that, Oh Land’s utilization of individuality in a landscape filled with fundamentally basic music should help her to stand out. Like a rambunctious and more experienced FKA Twigs, the paving already done by Oh Land is important to note. “Earth Sick” just continues building that road.

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