Odonis Odonis: Hard Boiled Soft Boiled – Have you heard the one about the sexually-unhinged shoegaze band who suffered a mid-life crisis and launched themselves into space? No? Well it’s called Hard Boiled Soft Boiled and it comes from a group of Torontonians renowned for their effortless ability to clear a room full of wimps unable to absorb the industrial clamor of Nine Inch Nails soundtracking a Michael Bay movie. On their latest, Odonis Odonis serves up a uniquely bipolar demonstration of their strongest influences in a surprisingly fluid industrial symphony in two movements.
For anyone familiar with 2011’s out-for-blood debut Hollandaze (home to such vicious tracks as ‘Busted Lip’ and ‘Blood Feast’), the forty-second intro appropriately labelled ‘Tension’ provides just that, as the demolition machine that is Odonis Odonis is heard firing up for the one-two punch of ‘Are We Friends’ and ‘Order In The Court.’ After rattling off a few gunshot bass drum kicks, ‘Friends’ becomes the sonic equivalent to skipping the awkward courtship and forming the question “are we friends?” in the shape of an imperative statement as singer Dean Tzenos rounds third base. Bold in every definition of the word, the three-minute nightmare blows apart with every dip into the chorus, receding just enough to hear Tzenos churlishly point out that “just one hand’s not enough to give yourself a hard-on,” as he burns yet another bridge.
Despite its frantic plea for peace, Boiled’s second jab ‘Order In The Court’ terminates all remaining composure in its continuation of unbridled sexual energy. With shaky squeals and flaky appeals Odonis climaxes in a blistering surge of orderlessness reminiscent of Les Savy Fav’s equine masterpiece of yore, naysaying equanimity with horse-like whinneys. ‘New Obsession’ and ‘Breathing Hard’ continue the trend of mounting pressure, while sunshine finally bursts across a twice-overcast sky on ‘Mr. Smith,’ only to be swallowed up by another merciless thunderstorm moments later.
In the middle of an album consisting so far of nothing but violent emotional cleansing, ‘Release’ is a terrifying title to come upon, but the intro to the soft boiled side of the record ushers in a surprising coolness to be explored further on its five remaining tracks. The first of which, ‘Angus Mountain,’ keeps things hefty and brooding, but ventures more into a specific territory of dark wave examined earlier this year by returning synth-wave heroes The Faint. Chock full of lethal bass lines, shoe-gazing resonance, and reiterated disappointment (“she never loved you anyway”), ‘Angus’ is just as much of an upper as it is a downer. ‘Office Sluts’ offers a more focused shoegaze sound with a bitterness blatantly highlighted in its jocular title.
In which Tzenos literally hits the high note, ‘Highnote’ finally provides some (albeit indecent) composure with its melancholy-falsetto-meets-Odonis-Odonis-industrialism. While the band embodies spaciness in at least one definition of the word throughout the album, ‘Highnote’ sees Odonis begin to float away from their grounded impenetrable soundscape on the broodless wings of sub-orbital spaceflight. The subsequent ‘Transmissions From The Moon’ serves as little more than the supposed sounds of space travel, an interlude imaginably aborted from Lefse’s recent cosmic mission. Seeping into ‘Alexa Wait,’ Boiled closes with leftover space residue, and eventually dives into an intergalactic beat that builds up to a now-familiar reverbial ecstasy. No matter how you like yo eggs, Hard Boiled Soft Boiled is teeming with protein. Odonis Odonis has an uncanny ability to churn out exceptional iterations of both industrial noise and shoegaze poise, Boiled proving them to be the undisputed masters of both crafts. With the noise rock band’s fluency in dreaminess, we may be witnessing the start of a new industrial revolution…9.6/10