Pau Pau was released on the first day of summer, but for the three dudes who make up Oh No! Yoko, this June represents a far more important milestone: their high-school graduation. The thrill of new beginnings permeates every moment of this seven-track EP, which teems with jittery postpunk rhythms and euphoric guitar-keyboard interplay.
This display of youthful vigour is infectious, and it’s impossible not to be charmed by the relentlessly cheerful vibes. Unfortunately, the feel-good atmosphere sometimes comes at the expense of thoughtful lyrics. “Coryza” begins with the juvenile observation “I have some friends/They are real nice,” while the head-scratching “400,000 Years” contains a clunky tribute to “Sean John Diddy Combs”. And then there’s “90s Kids”, a celebration of adolescence that’s hampered by too-cute references to mushroom cuts, Windows 93, and the Baha Men.
Poetic missteps aside, Pau Pau is a fittingly sunny soundtrack to the beginning of beach season. The trio has well-honed musical chops, and these songs are packed with dense rhythms and hairpin structural shifts. Opener “Hatshepsut” is a gleeful whirlwind of blistering Afro-beat rhythms and soaring falsetto vocals, evoking a sugar-addled Vampire Weekend. Even better is the comparatively restrained “Buki Bag”, which is laced with sweetly chiming guitar riffs and doused in just the right amount of expansive reverb. With its simmering grooves and subtle atmospherics, it’s an undeniable display of songcraft that suggests that Oh No! Yoko has a musical maturity far beyond the years of its members.
download the album for free by Pau Pau here: http://ohnoyoko.bandcamp.com/album/pau-pau