Celia – Vocals,
Yannis – Guitar,
Pierre-André – Bass,
Theo – Drums,
Yann – Guitar.
1. Houston (We Have A Situation…)
2. Ending The Boredom
3. Trust In Lust
Whether it’s because of the never-ending flow of time and steady accumulation of age, entertainment becomes increasingly more mundane as time wears on. You grow accustomed to certain tropes and trends the older you get, so subsequently become far less easily impressed. Regular readers may attempt to infer something from that (and you can spread those salty tears on your toast as you are absolutely wrong), but the fact remains that the more you consume, the less stands out. As a result, burnout can be a real threat. Thankfully, there are state-mandated rehabilitation programmes available that aim to find an end to the dreaded ennui and return one reinvigorated for work.
With that hack-job link, we have France’s ODC and their debut EP, “Ending The Boredom”. Current research doesn’t suggest whether ODC is an abbreviation for anything in particular, but it should get the obsessive-compulsives and dyslexics in a tizz (and God help those that have both). Pigeonholed as an alternative metal band, they themselves describe their sound as an amalgamation of “modern sounds, catchy tunes and a powerful voice with a ruthless efficiency: something between modern metal and classic rock”. An admirably broad scope there, though it has to be said that “Ending The Boredom” leans more towards the “modern metal” side of the spectrum in terms of the overall sound. Those of you expecting something like LED ZEPPELIN meets djent will have to be disappointed for another day.
On the surface of it, and as a sweeping, generalised statement, “Ending The Boredom” is a perfectly serviceable debut for the band. The fivesome take their songwriting cues from the classic rock era, with everything focused and concise, yet filter it with a modern metal aggression. The guitars bounce with that djent-style twang, whilst the bass in the likes of “Houston (We Have A Situation…)” delightfully twangs right back. Some might say it could be deemed formulaic, and whilst they would be correct, that doesn’t always mean it’s a bad thing. With ODC, it’s an indication of their tight song-craft. It’s certainly not anything innovative, but it won’t be bothering you enough to skip to the next song in the playlist.
However, let’s get some of the nitpicks out of the way. Right out of the traps in “Houston (We Have A Situation…)”, the hype man-like cries of “Do you feel it?/Do you want it?/Can you scream it?/Rock!” are, frankly, cringe-worthy. Why, oh, why do artists feel the need for a call-and-response hype on record? You get none of the immediate energy and feedback from a crowd, so why the hell do you bother? What’s the expectation? That the listener will scream out their affirmation in their bedroom, office or on the bus? Sure, you can see that happening alright… Give it a rest, save us all the embarrassment and keep it for the live show, gang.
The second is the ostensibly defiant pseudo-rap verse that occurs during the song’s latter third. If it is meant to demonstrate defiance to the system and shout loud that “rock still in the game [sic]”, then paper armour will deflect a tactical airstrike. It feels so token, and even then it is like someone thought to put it in only to fill a gap (easy) in the song. Any momentum that the song had built up and made to slow because of the above is somewhat killed off here. There is no confidence or conviction in the delivery and has all the rousing defiance of a wet lettuce leaf in a monsoon. If rock is “still in the game”, then show it with a killer solo or something! Actually bloody rock.
When the band do elect to rock, they do so admirably and dependably. “Why” is likely the stand-out track from the EP, with some lovely off-kilter djent-like riffs littered throughout and capped off with vocalist Celia’s star turn. The soaring chorus may lack the refinement and finesse of more seasoned vocalists within the genre, but it is befitting the raw and youthful energy the band possess. That being said, the gentler melodies of “Trust In Lust” seem to suggest a certain comfort zone that could be more readily exploited in future – adding some more “progressive” aspects to the band’s arsenal with quieter passages couldn’t hurt their prospects going forward.
A critic could have a lot of fun with a title such as “Ending The Boredom”. If it’s great, one can breathlessly enthuse how their boredom was most certainly ended. If it’s pants, then snarks such as “it didn’t” or simple rewordings like “Prolonging The Boredom” would be employed. Whilst there is no doubt the band gave little consideration to that before naming it, ODC can sleep safe in the knowledge that there will be no such hackery here. As a debut EP, it is a familiar albeit able introduction to the world and capably demonstrates a considered approach to songwriting. The hiccups at the start are, mercifully, confined there and what momentum is lost can be built up again further on. “Ending The Boredom” won’t be able to lay claim to being a definitive cure, but it is a welcome distraction on the road from cradle to grave.