Osoosooso - Osoosooso
Release Date: March 11, 2014
Record Label: Soft Speak
At some point in an artist’s career, they’re going to disappoint me. Usually it comes around the midpoint in their career where a piece of work feels more like an act of obligation than something they really wanted to create. Jonathan Dimitri of State Lines’ solo venture, Osoosooso seems to be the result of compulsion rather than obligation. These are songs that Dimitri needed to get out, so badly in fact that he had to create a completely new outlet to release them.
If his main project State Lines’ latest release For the Boats saw Dimitri exploring the punk side of pop punk, then Osoosooso allows him to explore the opposite side of the puzzle. He pulls off the pop sound just as, if not more effectively than the punk direction he’s delved into previously with guitar lines that have more similarity to the likes of Death Cab than pop-punk contemporaries and hooks that are crafted specifically to enjoy a permanent stay in your brain. These are hooks that you’ll find yourself humming to yourself until you have really got to just listen to the real thing. It’s the type of addictiveness that only pop music can carry.
Like most of the cool pop tunes you’ve heard before, this one’s about love. Dimitri however isn't content to paint an easy, breezy picture of his relationships. Even the more straightforward “I really like you” tracks come with some sense of adversity. Take for example the first track that starts off with lines about not being able to “hang up when you call” or “let go when you fall”; lines that wouldn’t sound too out of place on a Justin Bieber song. But with the very next words when he sings that he “can’t sleep, can’t think” things start to get bleaker. When he finishes off the chorus with “it’s been blurry in my head since you moved in”, you start to get the idea that perhaps this relationship isn’t the best thing for him. This relationship and the person these songs are about isn’t just treated as an object of affection but rather an active participant in the relationship. Approaching romance with a balance of apprehension and excitement makes this feel all the more unfiltered.
There’s a reason why Mark Hoppus created pop punk with his bear hands and there’s a reason why the guy who says “suppy” wants it to be defended; this record is filled with reasons why. It’s pop without the over-the-top sunniness; with a sense of honesty and awareness. It’s the kind of music you can listen to while you think about a cute girl without your friend with the ripped jeans beating you up because hold on, listen to this nasty bass line and the dude kind of sounds like he smokes a lot.