Office Party is an alternative four-piece band based in Cincinnati, OH. Joey (vocalist) and Spiro (guitarist) found each other through a Cincinnati Music Facebook group in the summer of 2016, and they instantly clicked from there. Joey said he wanted to create “indie grunge psychedelic emo music” or something along those lines, and Spiro was intrigued for some bizarre reason. After playing around with intriguing melodies, arpeggios and chord structures, Office Party’s first single entitled “Netflix and Chill” was born.
This five-track self-titled EP Office Party opens with “Office Space.” Despite the implications of the dull title, this is far from a dull track. It opens with a bending, distorted note on an electric guitar which quickly grows into a fuzzy, crunchy, noisy riff and a punchy drum beat. Wailing, strained vocals burst into view atop the noise creating a jarring but intriguing sound. This chaos suddenly drops away for a minimalist chorus full of a rap-esque vocals and a whirring guitar riff. They adopt the loud-quiet dynamic popular in ‘90s alt-rock but twist it in a modern light. Office Party doesn’t sound dated.
“Netflix and Chill” is next in the track listing, and it’s certainly clear that this was their first single; I mean that in a good way, of course. It’s reminiscent of At The Drive-In; screeching vocals powerfully resonate atop grungy, fuzzy guitars which pump out a catchy pop-esque melody in the least “pop” way imaginable. The verses are full of electric guitar chugging along while a vocal sample runs through a distorted mic plays atop it all. I can’t help returning to the fact that it feels as if I’ve travelled back to the ‘90s but a new, warped version of the ‘90s. I like it.
“Down The Rabbit Hole’” certainly feels as if I’ve been plunged down the rabbit hole; it was an unexpected change of pace. Precise, punchy drumming, a clear and defined electric guitar arpeggio and calmer, controlled vocals are present at the opening of the track. It’s all an illusion, of course. The screeching, aggressive and powerful vocals along with the distorted grungy guitar which is now a signature of Office Party’s sound all returns during the chorus. Again, it all sounds as if it shouldn’t be melodic, but it is. In terms of sonic experimentation, I enjoyed some of the differences in effects used on this track; reverberating, distant guitar lines burst in and out of view. This was a cool track.
“Steadfast” opens with a heavily processed guitar line and slowly thumping tribal drums. Again, the screeching heavy vocals make their entrance soon enough, but it’s all atop a precise and controlled beat. The jarring contrast between the soothing surf-esque guitar on the verses and Joey’s brutal vocals sounds as if it should be entirely wrong, but it just isn’t. It all works, somehow. There’s something very influenced and yet very original about this band.
All in all this EP. It was a brief glimpse into the potential for this band, but I looked forward to seeing what comes next for this collective. If they keep pushing themselves further and further then I really think they could come out with some great tracks in the future.
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