Otzeki have released Binary Childhood, a debut record combining atmospheric electronic music with intimate moments of pop excellence. But the real magic lies in the space between.
What is immediately apparent about Otzeki’s full-length debut is the strength of the songwriting and the duo’s skill at creating intimate and atmospheric music. As an album, it has it’s fair share of standout singles, but the real attraction to this release is it’s flashes of fragility and moments of electronic experimentalism. With a fistful of previous releases that have had their fair share of airtime on radio, it would have been forgivable for London-based cousins Mike Sharp and Joel Roberts to create a ‘best of’ record from their back catalogue, but they didn’t.
Album opener All the Animals sees frontman/ guitarist Mike Sharp set a haunting tone for the record as the broken-down minimalism of his guitar-play takes centre stage and his stirring vocals drift overhead. Big hitters Pay the Tax and Already Dead move in quickly, and the records atmosphere shape-shifts towards that which Otzeki have build their reputation on, euphoric electronic-pop music.
Over the course of 12 tracks the duo reveal a deeper and darker influence, the house-inpired True Love shows them unafraid to blur the lines between techno or house music to fit within a more traditional pop song structure. Towards the midpoint of the album Nobody Like You and Are You for Real? show a band at their most deconstructed point, intimate bare-bones electro-pop then slides into the effortless swirling electronic juggernaut of Sun Is Rising, a real standout moment of the record.
Amidst the chopped electronic textures and beautiful, minimal guitar pieces on Ships Are Coming In, the lyrical underbelly deals with the superficial nature of life and it is at this point Otzeki are at their most exposed, and as a consequence, their most breathtaking. The sun sets on Binary Childhood with it’s final track Strife, a warm and tropical cut with a strong feeling of reflection, and at the helm a duo at ease with their journey, making waves the way they’ve always wanted to.
By Karl Johnson