For a while there, Ollo didn’t have a voice; rather, it was a rather run of the mill indietronica duo that made music that was well-constructed but fairly forgettable. At least, that’s how the first album sounded. Ollo’s second album-length try, however, features a concentration on Alex Crowfoot’s vocal prowess, and Crowfoot actually comes off just fine for it, sounding a bit like David Gahan or Morrissey if either of them had an ounce of humility left. Get past the sound and there’s not much to Crowfoot’s lyrical prowess—“Shaky flaky / Hands off snaky” is the best he has to offer in “Shaky Flaky”, and as far as less obviously tossed-off lyrics go, “Dance like rain / This land can take the flood” (from “That Sound”) is about as profound as he gets. Still, as far as mellow electronic music goes, The If If actually finds its most impressive footing when it apes another group’s sound, whether it be Boards of Canada (“Everywhere Nowhere”), Daft Punk (“Summer Salt”), or even the atmospheric side of Brian Eno (the found-sound rainstorm that closes the album on the second of two hidden tracks). The If If isn’t about to blow any minds, but one gets the impression that that’s not what Ollo set out to do; rather, Crowfoot and Lars Chestra want to make some nice, enjoyable music, and at that, they succeed fabulously.
// Notes from the Road
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