The first impression of choh‘s demoisland is a melodic opening on “island.” It’s not a full song, but a quick introduction to “you buy a demo tape.” That melodic line continues on this track and while you expect the rest of demoisland to follow the same journey, “you buy a demo tape” opens into a shoegaze-like mellow song. As you continue through the EP, choh delivers a journey that weaves through multiple emotions all carefully ordered.
“you buy a demo tape” is simple on the surface, it moves through repetitive verses and choruses without much change but it grabs your attention quickly. It should feel incomplete, but there’s a complete statement made on the track. “enough” uses a similar system. A minimal amount of instrumentals to start, choh’s ambient vocals that whisper, and a lingering tempo that feels like a wandering breeze.
Even though there are 11 songs on demoisland, sometimes it sounds like songs are incomplete. This isn’t because these aren’t finished songs, but choh is determined to present a specific idea without specific regard to standard song composition. You could consider the arrangement like a spoken word poem.
There is a deliberate decision on how songs are crafted and even though it goes from verse to verse to end or verse to chorus to the end without a traditional bridge, songs on demoisland are all designed to speak as one.
Also, choh has very impressive composition skills. The percussion-forward “i got this” is totally different from the songs before it with a focus on the drum kit speaking with the guitars and bass. It creates tension across the whole song without breaking the overall theme.
I do wonder if demoisland means that all these songs were demos that were polished for an EP release. They all feel like complete songs within a specific style. And while listening to a single song is fine, demoisland has a narrative that flows from start to finish. I can’t imagine listening to the album out of order because it produces a specific emotion with each song in its specific order.
choh’s demoisland is a mix of multiple rock genres all filtered through a specific lense. The album’s 32-minute plus playtime moves quickly, but it captures your attention quickly. It’s definitely got a flow like a churning ocean and an album to digest with your full attention,