There’s only one adjective that perfectly sums up Oddczar’s One Word – intense. This intensity applies not only to the tension between melody and pure chaotic vitriol but also to the caustic intensity of vocalist Brandon’s otherworldly screams. These throat shredding cries of are nothing short of pure anguish, voicing a stream of emotionally fraught and unashamedly confessional lyrics that place every thought and feeling onto the table for all to view and dissect. To say that Brandon wears his heart on his sleeve is an understatement; he wears his heart on a twenty foot flag pole with an equally large neon sign directing your attention towards it. Where most people would bottle up their emotions until they explode or vent their fury through passive-aggressive means, Brandon instead exercises his demons in the most public of ways, leaving little to the imagination. Such open displays of emotion are commendable but such outward sincerity is not necessarily unique in the sphere of this kind of intelligent yet aggressive music, with the band’s sound fitting all too snugly into the ‘Wave’ scene of contemporary US hardcore.
At times their short songs and angular, melodically inflicted riffs bear much resemblance to Touché Amore minus the blast-beats, a resemblance further exacerbated by Brandon’s similar vocal and lyrical stylings. However, I refuse to write off a band with so much passion and channelled anger as simple copycats or sound-a-likes but at certain times, such as in the minute long ‘Sidesex’, the similarity is uncanny. Often it is hard to make assessments of the songs without drawing lazy comparisons to their peers under easy sound bites such as “a mid-tempo Touché Amore” and leaving it at that but such statements do not do the band’s obvious musical fervour any justice. Delve deep enough and there are sure enough inklings that the band has the capability with which to forge its own unique and quite possibly brilliant personality but often I find I’m simply grasping at straws and placing faith for distinctive identity in single guitar parts or certain tiny nuances. Despite these detractors, the E.P still stands up as a stunning piece of work. The three minute ‘Janaluska’ has all the markings of a “mini-epic” with delay-ridden guitars culminating in a flourishing and euphoric crescendo that is nothing short of compelling but despite this, it wouldn’t sound out of place on the next Pianos Become The Teeth record. ‘Samsquanch’ is a conflict of melody and pure aggression whilst ‘Bud Brothers’ utilises painfully simple and hypnotic clean arpeggios as a centre-point surrounded by a riff that descends into aural disorder. Closer ‘Russian Girls’ is a clattering mix of clean and distorted riffs with each carrying its own projected emotional weight. As the North Carolina natives are still in their infant stages, having only been together for two years or so, their lack of originality can be mostly forgiven and One Word is still a thrilling listen. If they can cipher at least a fraction of their emotional and musical intensity into creating music that distances itself from all too obvious reference points Oddczar will really be onto something special.