OOHYO has been a favorite of mine for years, since I randomly found her EP, Girl Sense, on Bandcamp. After Far From the Maddening City, I wondered what would be next. A social media post stated she would be taking a break from SNS and her label would be managing her accounts in the meantime. Then silence was announced and dropped very quickly. silence isn’t like her previous releases, the four-song release, what I would consider a single rather than an EP, is much more melancholy than anything before.
Over 18 minutes, you get a feeling that silence is a transition release. Her music has always had a slightly more upbeat or light energy quality to it, even when the lyrics might be a bit more somber, but those two paths seem to connect. “Quiet Night” uses a recognizable drum beat that’s accented with keyboards and guitar. The addition of brass and other samples gives the song more dimension, but it’s overall very tense. The music is heavier, feels more deliberate, and focused on offering a direct message.
silence feels like it’s supposed to be a catharsis for her. It doesn’t sound like something she made for new fans, but people who have followed her discography. If someone new to OOHYO started with silence, specifically “2020,” it might fall into emo electronic feelings. They would miss a lot of classic tracks. But listening to “2020” with more context, the track is a direct response to this past year. She’s offering her perspective very clearly.
“New Shoes” sounds like an older demo that was expanded into a full song. It’s arrangement is very focused on a bass melody and OOHYO’s vocals. Her vocals are one of the easiest ways people get drawn into her music, but OOHYO has always had a very specific arrangement style that adds and subtracts at will. This is a track that showcases how OOHYO can create engaging songs with a small amount of instruments but still create something dense and interesting.
I think that silence was a set of songs that weren’t ready to be a part of Far From the Maddening City, but also thematically different and more connected to this past year. It carries a lot of weight and sadness even though it’s still electronic pop at the core. I don’t think I would suggest silence as the first intro to OOHYO, but it’s definitely within the top three releases to experience.