Formerly with the punk rock band The Mint Chicks, Kody Nielson starts over in the confetti indie rock genre.
2012, Fire Records
6.5 / 10.0
Opossom is the new project from Kody Nielson, brother to Ruben Nielson of the Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Kody previously cut his teeth with punk rock band The Mint Chicks, but his work in Opossom would never allow you to guess that. Much like other bedroom artists, Nielson uses sonic layers of different musical constructs — pop, funk, R&B, psychedelia — to come up with a wholly-owned sound of his own. The only problem is that Nielson doesn’t seem to have the receipt. Let’s say I walk into a record store, and by some way of magic, the store has converted all of its albums into flavors of ice cream. Give me some of that Opossom. Hmmm…tastes a little familiar…is there Beck in here? Yeah, definitely Beck and some Black Moth Super Rainbow! Yum, tell you what, throw on a few sprinkles of Crystal Stilts, not too much though, I want to keep my dessert light. Yep, that’s pretty damn good. Okay, go ahead and sell me a gallon’s worth. Oh, wait, I’m starting to get brain freeze. Nevermind.
Opossom’s influences are not very subtle, and while the music is fun, it doesn’t leaving a lasting impression. Nielson is quite skilled at shuffling various parts of samples until they form a warped Rubik’s cube of what’s essentially bedroom electro-rock. Opener “Girl” uses a mix of ’70s pop music, fuzzy guitars, and quick shifts in direction that would suggest a long visit to Electric Hawaii is warranted, but by the second half, it’s a bit overplayed and indistinguishable from other artists shopping the same bag of tricks. The only song that stands out after Electric Hawaii‘s initial burst is “Cola Elixr” that sounds influenced by Nielson’s punk rock past, even incorporating a nice metal transition near the song’s end with Ozzy Osbourne-like wailing.
While there isn’t much left to recommend after “Cola Elixr”, Electric Hawaii isn’t without its stand outs from its early better half. Nielson sounds incredibly like Beck on lead single, “Blue Meanies”, while the music seems lifted from Black Moth Super Rainbow. Everything gels into a confectionary treat that many crave long after its over. Nielson plays with his voice throughout Hawaii, adding various filters that result in a robotic and faded sound, even though he possesses a fairly decent falsetto as evident on the fluttery track “Fly”. He turns down the lights with the swooning pop of “Getaway Tonight” that begs for an incognito, romantic rendezvous over cupid-pierced swells.
Kody Nielson proves he has a knack for confetti indie rock, even if his influences sometimes overpower his own ideas. Still, Electric Hawaii is mostly charming, and Opossom is promising enough to see what Nielson brews up next.
Purchase: Opossom – Electric Hawaii