OU – One (Review)

OU - OneThis is the debut album from Chinese progressive rock band OU.

OU have a very striking and unusual sound. Dynamic, vibrant, and atypical, One is an album made for those looking for something a bit different from their music.

The band’s progressive metal/rock style is melody-rich and atmospheric in an unreal, dreamlike way. OU can be heavy when they want to be, but also breathtakingly light and deft of character. There’s an experimental edge to the music that works well within the modern progressive rock aesthetic.

Imagine a strange, unexpected mix of Devin Townsend, Corpo-Mente, Animals as Leaders, Radiohead, Kate Bush, and Queen, and you’ll have a rough idea of what One is all about.

The songs are dreamy and surreal, almost as if you’re hearing music from an alternate dimension. The songs are frequently graceful, fragile, airy, and beautiful, all at once. Elements of djent can be heard alongside sugary pop influences that lend the album a bright sheen. There’s a firm electronic flavour to the music, with expressive synths and other contemporary sounds enhancing the band’s material. Ambient textures lace the music, occasionally achieving primary focus such as on tracks like Euphoria.

The vocals are as individual as the music. The singer is talented and her voice is versatile and impressive. From ethereal and rich to powerful and commanding, and much else, her singing is simply exceptional and captivating. That her voice remains a focal point of the songs despite how individual the rest of the music is is quite remarkable.

Each song has its own identity within the album’s 41-minute duration. Once you grow accustomed to the novelty of the band’s sound, what you’re left with is a well-written modern progressive rock album with songs that are catchier and more memorable than they have any right to be.

OU have impressed with this album. It’s not often that you hear a new band with a sound that’s as individual as this is.

Very highly recommended.

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