A sparkling nugget of melodic, full-bodied rock’n’roll, 2017 style, “Oh Oh” is a good example of a song in which my ear is caught more by a “moment” than an all-out hook. For me, it happens in the pre-chorus, first heard at 0:47. After the long descending melody of the verse, the music here feels inordinately satisfying, an effect boosted by lyrics that shine with both denotation and connotation: front man Adam Olenius sings “Don’t say that it’s over/’Cause nothing ever is,” and it pops with both energy and poignancy in this setting.
As for actual hooks, “Oh Oh” has them, but they’re sneaky. We actually get the main one in the introduction—it’s the guitar riff/”Oh oh” combination heard at 0:15—but, interestingly, it doesn’t come across as a hook right there; the guitars are subtle, deeper down in the mix than your classic guitar riffs tend to be. This hook requires context, it seems. When the riff returns (1:03), it feels closer to completion. When it finally gets reassembled, with the “Oh oh”s on top (1:57), well what do you know? I think we have ourselves a hook.
All that is semantic, of course: hooks, moments, riffs, whatever—I’m just trying as ever to put words onto what is going on in a piece of music, trying to translate the listening experience into writing. Dancing about architecture, in other words. As usual.
From Stockholm, Shout Out Louds have been together since 2001. The band was featured previously on Fingertips in 2009, for the dramatic, slow-building “Walls.” “Oh Oh” is the first single from the band’s upcoming album Ease My Mind, their fifth, due out on Merge Records in September. MP3, one more time, via KEXP.