new music: ofei’s ‘dreamers ep’ is soul at its most bombastic #soundcheck
By Sound Check
June 17, 2015
Listening to the new EP from Ofei, a sound that can only be defined as “triumphant soul,” I keep hearing the voice of Meatloaf’s legendary bandleader and principle songwriter Jim Steinman: “If you don’t go over the top, you can’t see what’s on the other side.” Ofei has never met a hook that he didn’t want bigger. He’s never met a chord progression that he didn’t want to make more anthemic. He’s never heard a beat that couldn’t be deeper. On his ‘Dreamers’ EP, Ofei goes so far over the top, that he obliterates any relative sense of scale. And like the best epics of preposterous scale, the ‘Dreamers’ EP is at its best when it’s the most over the top.
By Nathan Leigh, AFROPUNK Contributor
Tracks like “DREAMERS,” “WOW,” and “PANDORA” are written in all caps for a reason. Down to the track titles themselves, there’s a sense of massiveness and wonder to this record. “Hold on to what you believe / And find your destiny,” he sings in “DREAMERS” before it explodes in the second biggest chorus on the record. The record finds the mid-point between HIStory-era Michael Jackson and My Chemical Romance, exploring the joy in their sonic excesses. On tracks like “Everybody’s Gotta Learn Sometime,” Ofei finds room for moments of real beauty amid the bombast. It’s the overhead shot in the aftermath of the kinetic battle scene.
Ofei’s songs tend to build from a gentle piano intro into the biggest sound he can fit on a record. (If someone gave him an extra 6 decibels to work with in the digital spec, he’d be the first to use it.) Nowhere is that more effective than when he subverts the expectations he’s set up on the closer “PANDORA,” which teases a massive climax for 4 minutes that never quite arises. His hooks are still big, but the hints of restraint make it the most compelling track Ofei has to offer.
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