Opossom is essentially Kody Nielson, formerly of The Mint Chicks. When they split, his brother Ruban formed Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Kody retreated to his bedroom to write, play on and record Electric Hawaii. The album retains much of the bright energy of Nielson’s former band but it is also decidedly more trippy and psychedelic, awash with an array of electronic and tropicalia influences.
Getaway Tonight, one of the standout tracks, manages to make a hazy melancholic vocal work over frenetic drumming and all manner of strings and synths. Melody has always been a strong component of Nielson’s work and here it is amplified to a day-glo level. Everything sounds like it should be accompanied by technicolour rainbows, neon and hallucinogenic imagery. On Watchful Eye Opossom veer close to the psych rock of Tame Impala while the title track eschews vocals and conjures up the ghostly sound of a haunted carnival ride. The psych aspect is omnipresent throughout Electric Hawaii both in the way Nielson structures his songs, layers their elements and the sonic light in which he casts them. There are also traces of Beck’s experimental side and playful way with rhythms, and on closing track Inhaler Song Opossom channels Flaming Lips before tipping the music into a sonic blender, chewing it up and spitting it out as static in fantastic fashion.
It is all over in 30 minutes, highlighting how tightly Nielson has edited Electric Hawaii. This type of psych pop music too often becomes an indulgent exercise, yet he has honed in on one or two key ideas per song and built a kaleidoscopic world around them that is intensely creative, a ton of fun and quite a unique listening experience.
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