BEST NEW INDIE: OPIA - FOUR WINDS
Connecticut future pop duo Opia chronicle the dissolution of a relationship with sick beats and catchy melodies on "Four Winds"!
In 2007, Connor Oberst released the Four Winds EP. The title track detailed the inner lives of disenchanted youth as a Southwestern mescaline apocalypse, all spray paint and spiritual dissolution. Oberst's trademarked literary insights offered an insight into the millennial experience, rooted in tradition yet beholden to none. Musically, Bright Eyes gave us a polished presentation of the current state of guitar music - at that point, Paul Simon- and Bob Dylan-worshipping acoustic indie folk.
Now we have Connecticut's Opia turning in their "Four Winds," offering insights into the current musical tastes, as well as the psychology of this current age. Sex is on the brain, naturally, giving honest voice to the neurochemical engines that keep our current system churning.
Opia's "Four Winds" is a decidedly slicker, more modern affair than most of the indie underground were getting into in 2007. There's much less division between the underground and the mainstream, at this point, which stands to reason when up-and-coming bands like the relatively new Opia can make indie pop that sounds this fresh, this sharp, this catchy.
"Four Winds" is built around a tropical-sounding beat, like nearly every electro-tinged musician in 2018, regardless of what genre they're working in. It's like we're all walking on air, or "walking in a daze," as Cole Citrenbaum and DJ Stanfill sing before breaking into one of the single's grandiose choruses.
Opia deserve points for their timeliness. While Bright Eyes' "Four Winds" was rooted in a kind of doomed Old Testament classicism, referencing Leviticus and Lightnin' Hopkins simultaneously. It was classy, sure, but also almost entirely retrogressive. It's like we didn't really know where we were going, in that first decade of this new century. We still don't, most likely, but at least we're trying.
Opia's greatest contribution to the musical culture is their embrace of the electric guitar, which hasn't exactly been generating headlines (or #1 singles) much, in recent years. Citrenbaum's guitar tone is sharp, spiky, funky, raging. It's like Prince meets Iceage in the roller rink for some sleazy fun. "Four Winds" is a great example of the post-r&b/future funk style of synthetic indie pop, a style still going strong and not yet burnt out or saturated. The timing is perfect for "Four Winds."
OPIA - FOUR WINDS
So open your windows and let this banger take your cares away. Things don't end well for the couple in "Four Winds," but life goes on. We've all got stuff on our minds, as Spring breaks into Summer. The sultry air is still tinged with chill. We're still looking backwards, reflecting on where we've come from. With new music like "Four Winds," and the warm weather months looming on the horizon, at least we have things to look forward to, as well.
We Are: The Guard are looking forward to seeing what this up-and-coming duo come up with next!
J. Simpson occupies the intersection between criticism, creativity, and academia. Based out of Portland, Or., he is the author of Forestpunk, an online journal/brand studying the traces of horror, supernatural, and the occult through music, fashion and culture. He plays in the dreamfolk band Meta-Pinnacle with his partner Lily H. Valentine, with whom he also co-founded Bitstar Productions, a visual arts collective focused on elevating Pop Culture to High Art.