"Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh" - Say Hi
Say Hi, which started life in 2002 as Say Hi To Your Mom, has always been lumped into the lo-fi crowd, which seems the fate of anyone who goes the "bedroom rock" route, writing and recording and playing the instruments and fiddling with electronics pretty much alone at home. But let it be stated for the record that Eric Elbogen, Say Hi's Seattle-based mastermind, is now, even if he hasn't always been, much more than a lo-fi rocker. This guy knows how to put a song together, and doesn't mind showing us.
And yet the cool thing is that "Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh" is sophisticated in what strikes me as a new and impressive way. The music is by and large uncomplicated and yet completely well-rounded, by which I mean the various sounds and sections and rhythms blend to create a whole that doesn't merely sound like this or that part of it. Too much lo-fi music is maddeningly one-dimensional, sounding as if the creator can't quite picture the end result while putting the pieces together. Here, Elbogen works with discrete elements--the syncopated horn-like synthesizer of the introduction, a repeating bass drum rumble, crisply recorded acoustic guitar (complete with finger squeakings), a direct, garage-y lead guitar line--and stirs them into a brisk, cohesive, elusive song about an alluring girl and what he may or may not be doing with her. His reverby vocals slide beautifully in and around the precisely constructed landscape, singing a rapid-fire melody that seems more casual than it actually is. The simple repeated syllables of the chorus (and the title) similarly belie the savvy required to weave them into this bewitching little song.
"Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh" is from Say Hi's new album, Oohs and Aahs, released this week on Barsuk Records. MP3 via Barsuk.