Friday, September 12, 2008

Tonight at Toad's

Friday, September 12, 2008 - at Toad's:

Toad's Place
300 York Street
New Haven CT
$10.00 - 9:00PM - 21+

DIRECTIONS: Click here

Roll back nearly two years to a small room in a house in Belfast Northern Ireland. Toying with ideas and pushing all the buttons on their keyboards led duo Rocky O’Reilly and Shaun Robinson, otherwise known as Oppenheimer, to fall into a sound that the BBC called “all poetic and blip-tastic.” After looping, cutting and recording enough tracks, they soon started playing in local clubs. Encouraged, they started sending music to their favorite labels, Bar/None Records being the first. In the six months that it took an intern in the Hoboken office of Bar/None to dig their CD from a pile, the two had continued writing and recording two minute slices of pop, and were making friends at home. They played shows with acts like Ash, Architecture In Helsinki, Tilly & The Wall and The Bravery and were proclaimed to be “immensely watchable pop-peddlers‚” by the Belfast Telegraph.

By the start of 2006 Oppenheimer put the final synthesizer bleeps on their debut album. After completing a session with guest vocalist Tim Wheeler of Ash. A limited edition, hand printed 7” was released in the UK in April, selling out quickly. Bar/None released the album on June 6th, followed by releases in Australia, Japan and Thailand. What followed was hundreds of shows, sixteen weeks of touring in the states and another sixteen in Europe that helped Oppenheimer hone their lush electronic pop sound.

At the same time their tracks began finding their way into television shows like How I Met Your Mother and Ugly Betty and commercial campaigns for Fujifilm and Nike, switching even more people onto this Irish two piece.

Oppenheimer were then invited by They Might Be Giants to tour North America, before returning to Ireland to record again…

And now the dynamic duo are set to release their sophomore long player for Bar/None, brazenly titled Take the Whole Midrange and Boost It. We ask, is it a shot at the shallow pre-fab pop machine, a heady and complicated insight to their own sound engineering techniques or are Rocky and Shaun going macro, rendering a title that we’re supposed to take as a metaphor for Life on Earth?

The new record embraces some pretty esoteric themes: politics? fireworks in New Jersey and Cate Blanchett impersonators to name a few. But they’re certainly not all above the neck. The band’s soaring, visceral approach is pure pop for now people, winning the love of friends, fans and press alike-- Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol proclaiming, “Oppenheimer are like the Irish Flaming Lips or Mates of State. It’s extremely rare for a band from Belfast to have that otherworldly sound. They’re an incredible new band.” Alternative Ulster Magazine voted the band #1 Most Likely To Succeed Amongst Irish Music Professionals and Ireland’s Hot Press has said, "Their warm electro pop make Oppenheimer stand apart in a city dominated by dreary guitar bands.” And it hasn’t only been the obvious giving the duo their props, "I am stoked and thankful to have been a part of this record," says Matt Caughtran of thrash-punk godheads The Bronx who lent his voice to the appropriately heavy handed “The Never Never.”

The other 11 songs embody Oppenheimer’s trademark epic synth and guitar driven pop, but introduce a more obvious mandate to rock hard. While the album kick off “Major Television Events,” is reminiscent of “Breakfast In NYC” from their 2006 self-titled debut, the step up to a poignant grind is undeniable. Scribe Gordon Matthews even said, "Look Up may be Rocky and Shaun's 'Born to Run.'" The aforementioned “Cate Blanchett” is a vast pop soundscape, “Support Our Truths” harnesses a sweet, memorable melody in classic Oppenheimer form and “Only Goal And Winner” slides from a swirling haze of synths and chorale voices before locking into a beat that takes it to another level of pop ingenuity. And that’s just to describe a few. But why dance about architecture?

In a few short months, (June, to be exact), Oppenheimer’s Take the Whole Midrange and Boost It will be released on Bar/None Records. Hang tight till then. The band will be joining They Might Be Giants for another string of North American dates come February, so we’ll keep you posted on that.

Opening is Etta Place (a CT Indie fave, but it looks like they have flown the CT coop for NYC). "Their sound is equal parts indie and rockabilly, using a plethora of instruments from synced strings to electronic noise (alongside the use of almost the entire percussion family). The result is smart orchestration in tracks such as "Before the Bumblebees Die," where looped percussion creates a somewhat creepy, somewhat peppy electronic feel. (New Haven Advocate).

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