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Take the Whole Mid-range

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Album Review

Oppenheimer occupy a sonic niche that probably won't help them much commercially but on their second album, Take the Whole Midrange and Boost It, they do manage to come up with something pretty spectacular (in the three-ring circus, Night of 1,000 Stars meaning of the word). The problem for them is that they mash together styles and sounds that don't fit very well and might send listeners who need their music presented in a clearly defined, stylistically segregated fashion into a tizzy. They have punk-pop-friendly shouty melodies and spunky energy but they also douse everything in the glossiest, most synthetic synths you could imagine. Some of the songs sound like they could be played back to back with Hannah Montana, but the aesthetic of the record is pure indie glam from the album title to the song titles to the cover art. Like the Flaming Lips playing on 90210 or Scarlett Johansson recording with a dude from TV on the Radio, it just doesn't make sense. The wild sounds and colors blend together madly like the pop/rock equivalent of a Bollywood musical full of too-bright colors, people dancing wildly, and big smiles all around. You could pick out songs as highlights, "Cate Blanchett," the title track, or "Fireworks Are Illegal in the State of New Jersey," say, but really the album is a self-contained bubble of weird pop giddiness that works best in one shiny, happy 30-minute jumble. You won't come away from the album any wiser or be emotionally challenged in any way, but that's all right. Sometimes you just want to hear music that makes no sense but sounds the way cotton candy tastes. Oppenheimer are the perfect band for just such an occasion.


Formed: November, 2004 in Belfast, Ireland

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Rocky O'Reilly (guitar, keyboards, vocoder) and Shaun Robinson (vocals, drums) are the quirky electronic pop duo Oppenheimer. Formed in 2004, the Irish duo made quite a splash in England in 2005 when BBC Radio 1 DJ David Holmes championed their song "Breakfast in NYC." From there, Oppenheimer went on to perform shows alongside the Chalets and Architecture in Helsinki. A recording contract with Bar/None followed in September, and their self-titled effort arrived in Spring 2006. The 14-song pop gem...
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Take the Whole Mid-range, Oppenheimer
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