Amateur Scientist: “Oedipus Complex” – off-kilter instrumentation that you’ll find absolutely absorbing
Oedipus complex, in psychoanalytic lingo, is a Freudian theory that we all want to fuck our mothers and kill our fathers at some stage in early childhood. It is described as normal and an emotion that need not be suppressed. Three-year-olds are normally too small to act out this desire, but what about an experimental musical collective from England? We don’t’ know if Amateur Scientist have, or ever will carry out this objective, but in the meantime they have released a 17 track album entitled… “Oedipus Complex”! Amateur Scientist is a Lo-Fi indie musical collective from that came about from a mutual shared music taste by two friends who wanted to create the music they wanted to hear back in 2015. This, their first album was released on Spotify this year.
Straight off the bat, I’d feel guilty and ungrateful if I didn’t give Amateur Scientist its due praise. Listen to this with an open mind, and you’re in for one hell of a musical experience. Like all classic albums, it may not appeal to you the first time, probably not even the second time — don’t give up.
This is a masterpiece, if you’re willing to give it a chance. And it becomes such, right from the minute the infectious hand-clapping melody of “Dance with Death” kicks in. This albums eschews all the technical crap and studio pretense associated with modern pop music. This thing is rough and ready, almost as if it was recorded spontaneously during a few live session rehearsals. It feels alive.
If you love it, even the miscues will sound intentional and the highlights will grow with each listen. If you hate it, you will struggle to make it through the album once, and should go back to you old Justin Bieber and One Direction albums. It’s hard to compare this to the universally gooey pop sounds.
You can love it or hate it, but you just cannot ignore tracks like “Ice Cream Van” and “Ice Cream Man (Where are you?)”, especially if you listen to the dark lyrics, which is a far cry from the catchy light-hearted melodies the boys are singing. This is a record everyone should own; it is fun and melodic, inventive, creative, and gives you that good audio buzz you got the first time you heard the Beatles or XTC.
This duo sets all the pop musical pretension aside with a dose of close to the bone lyrics, McCartney-esque melodies, breathy vocals, and off-kilter instrumentation that you’ll find absolutely absorbing. This is a collection of songs that wouldn’t be as good without the magical glow of the brilliant songwriting, and which gains a unique appeal in its combination of swirling dissonances and common sense melodies.
Most of which happen on Side 2 of the album, called “The Fantasy Deepens”. Here there are surprise tracks like “Something Evil” and “Cosmic Eye” that will grab your attention with their twisting sonic arrangements.
Quiet yet upbeat, introspective in some places very bouncy in others this album is perfect to get your body, but mostly your mind, moving. In some cases Amateur Scientist seem confused and off-kilter, producing strange loping beats. But then the guitars – acoustic and electric- enter, building into forceful strums as a few finely placed notes punctuate the reverie.
Suddenly, it all comes together. The vocals, drums and guitars work to produce sudden changes of key, the effect of which is akin to a rush of blood to the head. Brilliant!