IF 1074LP IF 1074LP

LP version. O'o release their sublime debut album Touche. O'o singer Victoria Suter met her musical partner Mathieu Daubigné at college in Agen, South West France, when the pair were studying music theory in their teens. Victoria moved to Barcelona in 2010; Mathieu followed six years later. Their debut EP, Spells, appeared in 2018 a beautifully crafted patchwork of vocals and samples that is redolent of the uncanny vocalese of Laurie Anderson. The EP's sense of profound longing for something lost is carried over to Touche, as well as the same heightened sensory awareness of the world around them. What has developed in spades is the creative process. O'o have blossomed organically, augmenting their pop sensibilities. Avant-garde techniques have been brought to heel as the pair create off-kilter pop music that warms the heart and nourishes the brain. The catalyst that enabled this bold pop transformation came with the song "Touche" itself, a saucy chanson at the heart of the album. Suter's wry narrative about a botanical femme fatale is inserted into a lithe and skittish song with reggaeton beats and an inviting, balmy atmosphere. "Touche" reaches into hitherto unexplored areas of pop, while the rest of the album is accessible in the way that James Blake, Radiohead, or Kate Bush are accessible, and it always challenges, in a way that pop isn't supposed to. Suter writes playful, poignant, observational songs that tell stories as well as tell us something about ourselves. Songs like "Dorica Castra" are built upon the voice as an instrument, centrifugal and layered from its core. Complimentary to this method is Daubigné, who brings startling innovation with found sounds, samples, and clever vocal manipulations -- creating unique, otherworldly sonic flourishes. A guitar whirs like a musical spinning top on "Spin", created in Ableton; an Ondes Martenot appears to make a guest appearance on the title track, though it's the ingenuity of the Prophet 8 synthesizer.