archive review – originally posted on the losing today site c. 2005
YOU AND I
And the hits just keep rolling out. Not content with already subduing us with a superb Jukebox singles series (featuring Julie Hummer, TM Schneider, Hi Lonesome Cowboy among the assembled cast), a beautifully packaged By Coastal Café retrospective and the debut long player by kptmichigan / kohn team play Super Reverb, Earsugar fast becoming the most prolific label currently doing the rounds presently dig deep for the gem like debut from Mek Obaam.
Two limited releases to date courtesy of the aforementioned Jukebox series (all served up) ‘You and I’ slender and brief as it may be (9 tracks clocking in at 22 minutes) is the perfect soundtrack for those who prefer there summers slightly more formed with malleable guitar pop served with a simplicity and naked primitive undercarriage.
‘You and I’ is book ended by the full lengths two strongest cuts (‘Different Universes’ and ‘Everyone wears Jeans’) in between you sense Obaam merely plays out the rest of the album at cruise control. In terms of reference points imagine Dylan gripped by an attack of amnesia that wipes out his memory of his recording career donning a guitar and starting over again from scratch to record with a distinct classic Sun era Carl Perkins on acid edge (the rustic ramble of ‘Some say Yes’), that good, right. ‘You and I’ is clever, Obaam doesn’t outstay his welcome, the songs are short, straight to the point and without trappings, the kind of infectious but quickly devoured album as was the LA’s eponymous debut (in fact check out the cutely executed scouse twang of the classy ‘Johnny and Mary’ a distant relation to Mavers’ ‘Feelin’).
Elsewhere the discordant brass fanfares and the wobbly West Coast underpin afforded to ‘While you’re Sleepin’ is worlds apart from the driving hillbilly psyche of the tranquil lining amid ‘Goodnight, thank you’ itself fetching you a sneaky sucker punch with its attendant sub ‘Never Understand’ feedback squall towards the end. Then there’s humour – the want to be rowdy but frightened of upsetting the neighbours ‘Song for Mothers’ a snotty nosed anthem to kindergarten fuck up’s everywhere.
‘Everyone wears Jeans’ harbours a stinging bittersweet distance and the kind of insanely catchy hook line that really shouldn’t be allowed to venture out unless accompanied by a health warning yet best of the set is ‘Different Universes’. Prime time shades ‘n’ leathers ‘Psychocandy’ era JMC staring down the Velvets, so cool it sets your teeth on edge and so brimming with psyche electricity its as though someone’s sharpening their claws up and down your spine making the hairs rigid. A killer debut.