Review: The Ophelias- Crocus

Cincinnati quartet The Ophelias- who release this album towards the end of the month- have created an indie record that flies against the trend for rowdy, post-punk influenced songs with someone- usually female or female identifying- muttering over the top. While I enjoy that particular genre, there’s a disarming delicacy here. Spencer Peppet’s warm, almost conversational vocals have the same quality as Kim Deal and Anna Burch, meaning there’s a sweetness and intimacy, even when the sound gets murkier.

What mostly sets the band apart from others though, is the use of strings alongside grungy guitars and crunchy drums. In this way, they most resemble the often overlooked That Dog, whose wry, wistful indie rock also had chamber quartet elements of violins and cello , making them slightly outside of the loud/quiet 90s formula. No flannel shirts for them.

On the one hand, then, there are energetic, anthemic songs like Sacrificial Lamb, and then there are sad tales of romantic obsession, as in The Twilight Zone and the title track itself, which feel like reading love letters soaked in tears and underpinned by absolute agony.

Finally there’s a lighter touch yet, in the folk- leaning Vapor or Spitting Image. Heartbreak sounds so good, because the lyrics have a self-awareness and lucidity This album will blossom ,as with the flower of the title, but as with all the best music, it takes a little while to process.

Out via Joyful Noise on September 24th

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