‘The onslaught of full-throttle musicality gives more on every listen.’
Intro to OH LA KANADA:
If you’ve never heard of London based OH LA KANADA then you have been missing out. Releasing ‘Fantasy’ back in 2017, and a self-titled EP shortly after, Karolina (vocals), Will (guitar), Gui & Kuba (drums and percussion) and Ana (bass and synths) showcased a unique blend of musicality. Sounding familiar, yet refreshingly new, relatable, yet intriguing, each track brought something different. So, fast forward to now – via a Friday night dance floor filling remix of ‘Paper Love’ and the 2018 release ‘Wasted Life’ – and it’s little
surprise that they are doing exactly the same. Well,
when I say exactly same, I actually mean the same, but even better.
Bringing an insertion of energy equalled only by the sound of the cassette deck being loaded, we are thrown at full-force into OH LA KANADA’s driving musicality. Combining reverb-filled drums and interlocking guitar riffs, the groove is most definitely momentum filled. And, showcasing their knack of perfect production, the panning palm-muted guitar lines make it sound as funky as hell.
Retaining the momentum, on the emergence of the initial vocals, the texture shifts dramatically allowing the title centred lyrics to come through. Harmonically accompanied by only bass guitar, it’s a great way of hinting at the progressions within the vocal itself while not being blatant about it. Likewise, the reduced kit elements give real room for growth. How easy it would be to have chords and full drums underpinning it. To not do this though demonstrates highly appropriate risk-taking and provides a chance for development.
Proving the appropriateness perfectly, the second half of the verse sees the stylistic influences return to the former ones. Taking the lyrics into a new light, the energy filled accompaniment continually pushes the sound ahead of itself and subtly throws us off the main beat. In truth, everything is synchronised like clockwork, but the impression is that it’s getting faster with every milli-second.
Delivering an insanely infectious link, the lyrical content disappears to reveal a myriad of instrumental grooves. Interweaving as they do, each one brings as much interest – if not even more – than the preceding lyricism and each one staying strong a highly musical fight occurs. Put simply, it’s so good that you hear something new on every listen.
With near equal prominence being given to both vocal and instrumental elements to this point, the second verse sees the accompanying features build from the first. Joined by contrastingly delicate decaying bell tones, as well as the most grin-inducing additional percussion I’ve heard in a long while, the gaps from before are filled wonderfully. This said, any gaps are about to be filled with full-throttle instrumental sounds.
Texturally changing to allow each individual idea to be heard, new bass lines with call and response style emerge to showcase a true understanding of musical ebb and flow. Building on this, new, syncopated guitar rhythms and sweeping sounds come to the fore and grow until they are ready burst. And burst they do. Zooming off like a red Ferrari the groove-filled solo lines resurge and mixed with intensifying textures, the most unexpected of overwhelming climaxes is reached.