Independent release, 2016

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


The precursor to Oooze, the beautifully messed up and deranged Shhh​!​!​!​!, is a masterpiece, and unarguably Sam Chown’s best work under the Shmu moniker. This release is borne out of the same DNA as Shhh​!​!​!​!, with its heavy guitar-based sound inspired by shoegaze, prog rock, and heavy metal music. Oooze is certainly a notch above other Shmu albums, but it is no masterpiece like its predecessor. But this album isn’t supposed to be as brilliant as the previous, for it kind of sounds like it is made up of songs that have been left out from Shhh​!​!​!​!, thereby making it a sort of companion EP (consisting of only six songs, and a little over 25 minutes long).

This disc is straightforward; in fact, it is downright stripped-down and crude. It does not have songs that are made up of chopped up and reassembled bits of music like some kind of delightfully deranged Frankenstein’s monster, which was the case with my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Shhh!!!!. This EP is a monster alright; a jagged, raw, and ugly monster that is the very antithesis of the sophisticated production values of Shhh​!​!​!​! With the aspect of crafty studio manipulation of sounds removed from the equation, all that is left on Oooze is pure musicianship – Chown’s stunning guitar and drumming work as a multi-instrumentalist.

The tracks “Armor & Orchids” and “Velcro Days” are a weird and brilliant mix of groove metal and shoegaze music with their complex drumming, heavy but ethereal guitars, and slow tempos. “Pathos” is an instrumental, consisting of a backdrop of shimmering and melodious guitars on top of which Chown pounds away on drums. “Escapism” is similar to “Pathos,” but with Chown singing in quite a dissonant fashion, resulting in a strange marriage of harshness and pleasantness. “I’ve Got Nothing To Show,” which is originally from Shhh​!​!​!​! and is repeated here, is a natural fit on this EP since it is the most straightforward and kickass number on that album. On the other hand, “Cum2u ~ Radio” is a song that could have been featured on Shhh!!!! with its quirkiness and unpredictability, as it keeps morphing from one insanely amazing musical personality to another.

It is easy to imagine Oooze as a version of Shhh​!​!​!​!, if Shhh​!​!​!​! were more of a straight-up rock album without all the musical collage-work. This EP is a skeletal version of its predecessor; it is ugly and beautiful at the same time. If Shhh​!​!​!​! were a sexy sports car, Oooze is the engine that one would find upon popping open the hood. People that are enamored simply by the outward appearance of the car would see the inner machinery as just some hunk of metal; others, however, would find the machinery a work of genius that is just as sexy as the car’s fancy exterior.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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