On their debut EP, Optimization, Brooklyn’s OMAT took the excitement of their live shows and built upon the allure of the debut single, ‘Daisy’, to clearly define their own sonic landscape. A sound that took you unknowingly from the heaviest 90s grunge to the tenderest, understated vocals with ease. A sound they coined as Love-Sludge. Their potential was there in abundance.
On their latest release, the double A-side, “Pollen / Knot”, the band appear to have taken these foundations and cemented what OMAT is. Commenting in a recent interview with OpenTab they expressed that “these two singles were the first songs written specifically for recording”. You can hear that immediately with the dynamics of the track very deliberately taking the headphone listener through the range of emotions they want to showcase.
Singer Dharma Ramirez explained this in the same interview: “The drama definitely comes from focusing on our live performances. We love heaviness but usually a big part of the song writing process is editing down some of those parts or adding quieter less busy sections to make the heavy parts hit even harder.”
On Pollen, her tender vocals take centre stage at the beginning, beautifully, detailing the struggles of building relationships in NYC: “This time / I’ll make u mine for awhile / I’ll take the train into the city / Meet u inside of someone’s party.” Before the chorus kicks in, bringing the drama that is required to shake out the angst.
This contrast is not just within each track as the two singles appear to be interconnected... Two sides of the same coin. On ‘Pollen’ we feel the excitement and anxiety building towards an encounter, while ‘Knot’ seeming to be the frustration after the night before.
Both reference each other in the lyrics, on ‘Pollen’ Dharma uses the knots in her partners hair to allude to anxiety that this will all be fleeting: “In time / It will all seem so old and unkind / Like the knots in your hair”; whilst in ‘Knot’ the sweet allure of the pollen has left her sick and frustrated after the night before: “sweat and pollen in my bed / and sick from all your hennessey”.
These singles are the sound of an excellent live band evolving into a stunning band on record. With ‘Pollen’ & ‘Knot’, we see OMAT not only understanding what their sound is, but showcasing an ability to effortless enchant us with it.
Photo by Nicole Miller.
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