Opossom, Electric Hawaii

Matthew Perpetua

By Matthew Perpetua

on 08.07.12 in Reviews
Light funk, breezy beats and a supremely relaxed vibe

Opossom mastermind Kody Nielson is the brother of Unknown Mortal Orchestra leader Ruben Nielson, and there’s a clear family resemblance in their music — they share a taste for loose bass grooves, blissful psychedelia and a sort of cryptic whimsy. But where UMO sounds like three dudes jamming in a chilly basement, Opossom dresses up its stoner pop in crisp, clean tones that evoke sky-blue swimming pools and impeccably stylish lounges. Nearly every track on Electric Hawaii calls back to the clattering rhythm of the Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows,” but Nielson’s skill with hooks and shifting dynamics keep the record from feeling too repetitive. The sunny opener “Girl” thrives on the tension of a melodic turn that threatens to shift into the Velvet Underground’s “Femme Fatale,” while “Inhaler Song” climaxes with a sudden jolt of digital distortion that sounds more like a sickly game-show buzzer than a band rocking out. These moments are outliers, though: Electric Hawaii is mostly appealing for how effortlessly its light funk, breezy beats and supremely relaxed vibe can nudge you into a carefree vacation mindset.