Dreams of Death and the Death of Dreams

As you might guess from both the band and album names for this debut release, Obsessive Compulsive could well be the new faces of next-generational angst cool. Hailing from Manchester, the quartet- fronted by singer Kelii (real name, no doubt, Kelly)- pride themselves on not being part of the ‘machine’, instead preferring to shun the big bucks for some dignified creation of their own record label, Vociferous, in a statement to the music industry that is probably far more effective, and, of course, necessary than downloading a 17-year-old song for Christmas Number One. Shame on you.

Formed in 2003, it is bands like this that work hard so, although not really my cup of tea, there is a great amount of respect due to see how far OC have come, not least in how satisfying it must be to work with the likes of Russ Russell, the well-known producer of the likes of The Wildhearts, Napalm Death and past Cambridge favourites, The Mono Effect. This fact in itself already gives a clue as to what they might sound like and you wouldn’t be wrong in assuming ballsy, loud and raw punk rock, sometimes with a metal tinge, perhaps best compared to Hole before Courtney got hooked on a whole different set of needles.

If further evidence is needed, it is found in the album’s opening line “We masturbate as we suffocate”, drawled in the prelude to some very angry female vocals, a Cobain-like quality to the urgency in Kelii’s voice in the noisier moments throughout that offer a slight twist on the grunge-rock genre but also fit into it quite well. While the choice of song titles is fairly unimaginative (‘Man Vs Machine’ and ‘The Decay of hope’, for example), there is nothing amateur about OC’s musicianship, the passion behind the punk-rock ethic screamingly clear and exuding an often intense confidence despite the apparently bleak outlook, bringing down the pace for ‘Hell is a circle’ which acts as a great backdrop for Kelii’s vocal, as does the secret untitled acoustic track. However, unfortunately, these are the closest we get to variety in the songwriting found on ‘Dreams of death…’ on this occasion, meaning that, though something that will piss the parents and/or neighbours off on a day when you’re feeling pretty anti-establishment, I think that OC have something far more promising and mature to offer.

Anna C