Review by: Simone Smith
Otherkin are a very exciting, Dublin hailing four-piece, that have succeeded in blending together various rock genres for their debut album “Ok” set for release on September 29th. The band who have been making waves since they were formed in 2013, due to their snappy songs and energetic live performances, consist of Luke Reilly, David Anthony, Rob Summons and Conor Andrew Wynne.
The album starts with the punchy and catchy “Treat Me So Bad” which acts as the perfect opener for the record and really provides a sense of what Otherkin’s music is all about. It’s fun, it’s upbeat and it’s feel good garage-rock at its best. In the track, the band may be singing about being treated badly in a relationship, but they do it in an optimistic way that will have everyone singing along in no time. It’s as if they’ve taken something bad and said you ‘know what we’re going to turn this into an in your face, sing-a-long, pop-rock hit.’
This track leads into the even stronger “Come On, Hello” which is a grunge-pop banger that gets stuck in your head from the first listen. This is definitely one of the strongest tracks “Ok” has to offer and it’s no surprise that it started to garner more attention for the band when it was released as a single on September 1st. Hopes were raised that the rest of the album would match the quality of this single and that these guys could be about to release something really great. It’s safe to say they have not disappointed.
Next up is “Ay Ay” which can probably be described as Otherkin’s breakthrough hit after it grabbed the attention of Irish Indie label Rubyworks who later went on to sign the band. This led to Otherkin’s “201” EP in which the track initially appeared on. “Ay Ay combined with the other three songs on the EP certainly helped the band find their pace, with straight to the point, uplifting, animated rock anthems. “Feel it” the fourth song on the album also made an appearance on the band’s “201” EP.
It’s important to note that some tracks from these guys can be deceiving, as they appear to be fun, upbeat hits, which they are, but if one could simple dedicate the time to decipher what lead-singer Luke is actually saying, they would see that there is some effective social commentary to be found here. So, although this band’s main aim is to have a good time with their music, there is still another layer to it and some good song-writing abilities. This is something that would be interesting to see developed further in the future as these guys seem to have a lot of socially relevant points to make.
Lyrics such as “Turn in a hit or you’re down as a throwaway/ Surrender art and be dumb/ Become some meat for the radio” found in “Ay Ay” really highlight this and show how this is a band that really wants to shake things up in the music industry. If enough people get behind this band, perhaps this will happen and they’ll be the ones to give rock the revival it really needs.
The music industry is not the only thing Otherkin seem to be unhappy about, “REACT” which features as the penultimate track on the record appears to take a swipe at politicians with the lyrics “He’s the devil in disguise, he’s a cheat, yeah he’s the antichrist/ Decency shrivelled up and died/ Said Hey, are you gonna react?” It’s clear these are some politically conscious lads, with an underlying message to be found in their songs.
The fifth track that appears on “Ok” is “89” and this is another of the record’s gems, showcasing how these guys have got some seriously catchy hooks that makes their music instantly memorable. “Yeah I know” is up next which is equally as enjoyable. Bass, guitar, drums, vocals everything is going hell for leather in this one in what creates quite a wonderful racket.
It’s clear to see where some of Otherkin’s influences come from and everyone who listens to these guys seems to hear someone different in them; endless names have been thrown about all the way from The Clash to Weezer. This band really needs to be given some credit for its originality though, it’s as if they’ve taken snippets of other artists but combined them together with their own style in a way that creates something really special and unique.
“Enabler” and “Razorhead” act as the seventh and eight tracks on the album and although they are not the record’s standout songs they are good, solid tracks nonetheless.
The album picks up again with its ninth song “Bad advice” which is seriously hooky and addictive which creates hope that these songs are catchy enough to have mainstream success. This strong rhythm continues into the final three tracks on the album “I was born”, “REACT” and “So, So” These songs really can’t be critiqued and follow suit with the garage-punk vibes, proving once again that these guys have found a style they are very comfortable with.
Otherkin’s main flaw as a band is that it’s impossible to produce their electric, energetic, wild live performances into a record that people can listen to. The band’s name, by definition, literally means a person who is not fully human and this is honestly what you would think watching these guys perform live. They simple give is everything; constantly leaping about on stage, crowd-surfing, all of it. These guys have a contagious energy live and are endlessly charismatic; they just want to ensure that the audience is having as much fun as they are and this is where their true power lies.
Overall, this is a fantastic debut album and Otherkin are fast becoming a huge Irish prospect. After hearing the album and seeing some of its song performed live it’s hard to deny that there is something very special here and an energy and passion that hasn’t been seen in a while. If things unfold correctly for Otherkin they are endlessly capable and without a doubt talented enough to take their material to a bigger stage.
Catch Otherkin live, full details of tour HERE and be sure to grab a copy of their debut album ‘OK’ when it drops on September 29.