Otzi hail from Oakland, California, a newer band kicking down the doors and taking names. Formed in 2014, they’ve released several EP’s, one full-length, and now their second full offering, Storm. On it they continue down the path of their previous work, stretching and expanding, embracing the darkness that boils underneath the surface of our world today.
This kind of music gets dubbed “Post-Punk” these days but to me, it fits really nicely into that late 70’s-mid 80’s New Wave style, plenty of Punk in there, but also a lot of Goth and those jangling, emotionally expressive guitars indicative of the New Wave. The bass (Akiko Sampson) pushes the songs forward, propelling them, along with the drums (Gina Marie), while the guitars (K. Dylan Edrich) paint images all around, sometimes riffing but mostly filling in the spaces, singing resonant melodies to complement the emotions in the songs. And the dual vocals (Sampson and Marie) interlock to add even more texture and passion to the compositions. The album as a whole moves quickly, ten songs clocking in around 35 minutes; they don’t waste time or drag things out. There is a constant shift, some songs pulsing with dark, dreary life, swaying and smothering (Ballad of Oiwa), some swing ferocious (15 Stars), while others rock hard (Scorpio). But the constant is the heartfelt emotions, the power of the darkness, and the almost-always danceable beat. You’ll be shaking your ass one minute, crying the next, and then raging in the pit later. All of it fits together, however, a tapestry that addresses and reflects “…the lives we’ve lived as femmes in an often-hostile world,” according to bassist/singer Sampson. “…That’s what Storm is about,” she continues. “Huge, violent changes that leave you transformed forever.”
It’s a pretty good description of the album as a whole. Huge, sometimes violent, always passionate, always screaming into the night, these songs will stick with you. And not just because of the danceable melodies, and not just because of the raw power, but mostly because of the heart behind it all. Like all poets, Otzi wear their emotions plainly for the world to see. Defiant, bleak, darkly beautiful, Storm is a great album that will help get you through some tough times.
On Bandcamp or Amazon
Three Buckets of Blood out of Four