Review: oOoOO – Without Your Love

A name like oOoOO carries with it the imagery of ghosts and ghouls wailing through an abandoned house at midnight, scaring the neighborhood kid who lost a bet among his friends and had to venture in alone. Christopher Greenspan’s project, while not quite that hammy, is nonetheless a eerie haze, having built a platform with two solid EPs. His first full-length album, 2013’s Without Your Love, is that ghost’s feelings of lonesomeness and isolation.

True to the tropes of witch house, Without Your Love is an assortment of minimal wave touches and downer trip-hop beats. The occult aesthetics—crosses and triangles—are undeniable, but Greenspan takes a much quieter and mellower approach to witch house than his peers. Analog synths screech distantly amidst swelling backdrops and the glissandi of piano on opening track “Siren.” Greenspan’s voice on “Stay Here” is groggy and tired: a lonely soul who had been up all night pondering an existential crisis in a room of pentacles and synths. The title track is as glum as it suggests, but in a completely different manner: The female vocals and accompanying key glimmers cut straight through the surrounding witchy elements and settle for a tone of almost purely ambient quality.
It’s not all unrequited sorrow, though. The avant-garde noodling of “Crossed Wires” is like a preparation for an exorcism, sounds fluttering about frantically with only static and swelling noise as its constants—a truly frightening track. The melancholic “Mouchette” is underlined with a reverb of deep industrial bass, and “The South” recalls more conventional witch house aspects of fuzzy synth squelches and erratic breakbeat compositions. “Across a Sea” is a reprieve to the album’s crestfallen stance, all shimmery synths, slow percussion, and morose piano melody.

Labeling music of this sound as “occult” has already become the kneejerk description, but oOoOO is certainly worthy of that title. Without Your Love is a dichotomy of eerie, ballad-like compositions and things that go bump at 3 in the morning. It’s an exciting genre to be part of, whether you’re lighting up cloves on the patio of your local Goth club or spinning vinyl after work while scratching your beard. SpoOoOOky stuff, in the best possible way.

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