2015 shaped up to be a year for amazing EPs, and Oh, Flamingo’s debut release is no exception. While Oh, Flamingo! is a band that I’ve been following live through their countless shows around the metro, listening to them on record is something else entirely. Oh, Flamingo! is a band that I love because of the way they subvert traditional song structures, which they manage to pull off because they’re just so damn good. Hearing every little detail with each listen of the EP makes it one of the most enjoyable listening experiences I’ve had recently.
The record begins with the “Inconsistencies”, a 6-minute long track complete with vocal harmonies and guitar interplay that would make fans of indie rock and math rock shout for joy. The second track, “Out”, slows things down a bit and pushes their love of smart songwriting to the forefront. This trend continues with the infectious “Two Feet” and the off-kilter “Reflections”. The record closes with their debut single, “June”, and the barebones hidden track “She Feels” which features just a lone guitar and Howard Luistro’s confessional vocals.
The record is well-put together, and it’s clear that Oh, Flamingo! is a unit comprised of more than capable musicians. Howard Luistro, Pappu de Leon, Billie Dela Paz and Fries Bersales are amazing musicians individually, but when they come together they’re like a well-oiled machine. A lot has already been said about their chops, but what amazes me about this band is their knack for arranging their material.
When stripped to their bare essentials, the songs in the EP are straightforward, catchy songs. But Oh, Flamingo! are never satisfied with the straightforward. When it comes to the arrangement, they come at it out of left field, playing around with dynamics and even dissonance to come up with something uniquely refreshing. And what’s more, they manage to do it without sacrificing the song’s melody and its essence.
In the capable hands of producer Nick Lazaro, Oh, Flamingo! managed to harness everything that makes them great: amazing technical proficiency, clever arrangements, and smart songwriting. The Oh, Flamingo! EP should serve as a message to Filipino bands to step up their game, because it’s pretty clear that Oh, Flamingo! is not a band that’s just messing around.