Holobody, “Riverhood” (Mush Records, 2012)
I’ve first heard of Sea Oleena when my mates from Lizard Kisses told me she was going to participate on their latest EP, Tiny Island Teeth, which I released on Cakes and Tapes late last year. Since I heard that one song, I instantly went and downloaded her latest album, Sleeplessness, which got me hooked for weeks. Her name caught my eye again when reading the press release relative to this album, and I knew I had to take a listen to it.
Holobody is a duo comprised of Oleena and her brother (which goes by the moniker of Felix Green). One can read the words “gospel, “hip-hop”, “electronica” and “folk” in the first sentence of the album description. Beware. Such a melting pot of genres may put off anyone who isn’t exactly looking for the future of music in the non-form of a batch of mp3s AND got tired of 96% of all music tagged “experimental” on the internets. That would be me, but strangely enough I found Riverhood’s opening track, “Unfold”, to be quite entertaining - sounds like something Why? could have done - and decided not to close the tab on which I was streaming it right away.
After listening to her solo stuff, it may seem a bit strange to hear Sea Oleena rapping - but then again, she never sounded conventional at all. On “Hurricane Season” she shares singing/rapping duties with her bro Green above a sea (pun not intended) of bleeps, bloops and samples; “Riverbed” is the highlight in the first half of the record, with Oleena’s whispered vocals providing a warm atmosphere. One of my few personal complaints about Riverhood as a whole is how the constant shift from quiet and ethereal to beat-infested schizophrenia puts me off from listening to it from start to finish without skipping a track or changing the tracklist around; fortunately enough, “Down to the River to Pray” kicked in near the end of the album - here’s the gospel! And it makes me want to praise the Lord or something. That’s what I wrote on a review of Spiritualized’s Sweet Heart, Sweet Light that I never finished and that’s what I’m going to say everytime I hear the words “Lord”, “Jesus” or “God” on a good song. But this time I think I saw the light somewhere during this jam’s coda.