Otherwife is a Northern California pop/rock quintet, but having members from the east coast, Brazil and India reflect musical styles and backgrounds within those two genres. Playing together since the summer of 2017, their brand of music could be seen alongside other bands such as the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Chvrches and Metric. They’ve been compared to artists Amanda Palmer and Taylor Swift. Their latest EP Magnetic was recorded at Wet Rabbit Studios and mixed and mastered by Entwined Mind. The six-song collection deals with the band’s morality of the culture’s obsession with infidelity.
Listening to the opening “Talking Not Touching” on the headphones had a fantastic surround sound of guitars from Anuj Arora – I’d recommend listening to the song in this way. Production wise every instrument, including the vocals by Kyle Abbott, sounded fabulous in this hip, pop/rock number. “Tired of Fighting” had a great balance of fast and slow tempos and felt like the group was influenced from many styles both old and new. The searing guitar solo was awesome, not to mention the song’s Latin vibe.
“Expose” starts with piano, sounding rather sad with its slow progression and familiar ballad arrangement. The additional backing vocals brings a tender warmth and I could sense the Taylor Swift comparisons a little bit, but really this band has its own thing going in my opinion.
“Lead On” has styles of intellectual and conscientious alternative pop, kind of 10,000 Maniacs meets up with The Cranberries. I liked the driving, toe-tapping rhythm from drummer Curtis Brandt as well as the key this one was in. “Seismic” was another great song to listen with headphones on, just for the stereo effect of the guitar. This tune I thought had a sophisticated feel to it as well, along with a fabulous mix of light and dark textures and a great arrangement. I think the guitar solo was the highlight here, as well as the fantastic bass lines from Stephen McQuay and the sing-along chants.
The ending “In the Morning We Wake” begins with beautiful sounding piano and lyrics that suggest, I think, the loss of someone loved very much. The harmonies on vocals by Kyle Abbott and Stephen McQuay are layered so well alongside the piano melody that I wish I could have listened to this one more than just the short duration it was. All in all, a well put together and very strong debut by this San Jose band.
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