Chicago’s rising duo, OK Cool brings listeners back to their teenage years in their latest coming-of-age inspired EP, fawn. Packed with vulnerability and notable lyrics, the 17 minute album balances dream pop with indie rock and pop punk to create the youthful soundscape influenced by the duo’s own queer experience.
“The idea of a baby deer learning to walk felt pretty appropriate for the title of the EP –it parallels the vulnerability that comes with taking on new experiences,” said bassist Haley Blomquist.
Just like the beginning of any 90’s cliché movie, “333” feels like the protagonist rising and shining. The insertion of chirping birds blended with a soft acoustic guitar, and building drumming pattern, sets an early spring morning atmosphere. Following on, the single “normal c”, which was praised by Stereogum, shows off a consistent beat from the electric guitars and a mixture of soothing yet fierce vocals from vocalist/guitarist Bridget Stiebris. The cherry on top was the addition of a scene from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia at the end of the track, an undoubtedly nice touch to exalt the young rockstar spirit.
The EP’s material draws from situations from internal struggles with depression and external struggles with relationships. Throughout the record, not only can you sense the theme through their words, but also through the shift in tempos that alludes to the typical mood swings that any other teenager would have. Even the song titles are an expression of youth at its best.
“nissanweekends”, the second single, features an enchanting stop motion video and the concept of time as the main theme. The track was written about the monotony of work and the stress that comes with balancing your time around it” explains Blomquist. The tune opens with a slow pace, but soon enough you can feel the change through vibrant and fussed melodies. This track is easily the climax of the record following the movie notion of the story.
The next half of the EP may sound as messy and angsty as the 90’s. Though in reality, the four tracks left are a reflection of the unafraid melodic experimentation of the duo. The way the ballads are composed makes the listening experience different from the usual indie rock tunes. The final song “soaked in” gives an emotional closure to the record, the same way a drama film would.
OK Cool is one of those bands you’ll want to listen to on repeat thanks to their youthful sound and soul that sticks with each of their songs. Self-produced and written completely by the duo, fawn is an indie eight-track gem that lives up to the DIY spirit.