Based on the assortment of sounds on Oh No... Yes! Yes!, it's definite that Ouija wants to make sure you're not bored. They power their way through an extensive range of sound and influences, from surf to punk to new wave to cabaret, with even a liberal amount of thick sludgy psychedelic rock dropped in for good measure. It's lush and tasty, and the vocals of Ouija Radio frontwoman Christy Hunt are the sweet icing on this bit of cake.
Hunt Runs The Show, No Matter What The Show Is
Much of the album relies heavily on Hunt. She brings the keys as well as the pipes. She plays keyboards in a solid garage-punk sort of way, rather than a synth-pop way, and belts her vocals without restraint. Like the music, she's constantly reinvents her voice as well. Sometimes she's a new wave diva, and sometimes she's a rock queen. She alternately plays the part of the folk troubadour, the sultry blues mistress and even the cabaret singer, deftly nailing each role.
If you're looking for punk rock, it's here. "Red Eye Fly" is a dirty hook-heavy screamer of a song with driving beats, and "Devil and the Witch" boasts a guitar line that's chunky enough to chew on and Hunt doing her best Siouxsie Sioux voice. Dirty surf punk shows up for a bit too, as the instrumental "Spirit Of The Ox" revs up its engine and takes you for a spin around the album.
Straight-up rock comes out to play when "Secret Garden" slaps you about the head and neck with its raw energy and gratuitous guitar work, and on the folksy side of the tracks, "Tomorrow Is Our Last Today" is fun and upbeat and "Lantern Light" is soothing and ethereal.
We're Not Done Yet, There's Still More To Hear
"Spinning Cyclone Death Machine" finds the band exploring yet another sound and another persona. This gloomy, heavily-layered texture is a dark masterpiece with majestic guitars and an evil cabaret sound. For this song, it seems that Hunt has transformed herself into the female alter-ego of Nick Cave, and I like what I hear.
The one cover on the album, a heavy take on T-Bone Walker's "Stormy Monday", is thick and bluesy, and Hunt delivers her vocals in such a sweet raunchy way, you'd swear that for those 2 minutes and 59 you were taking in a band at some backwater blues bar, rather than listening to one of the best bands to come out of Minneapolis since the Replacements.
If you're a fan of music, I mean simply a fan of music, whether it be punk, rock, folk or a bit of it all, then get this one. These three define their sound and then defy it. It's lush, layered and well-orchestrated, yet easy to simply enjoy. That makes it perfectly punk. An indie band going for this sound would only end up making something that took too much work to appreciate.