unDeveloped by ohGr (Metropolis Records)
On their fourth album as OhGr, Skinny Puppy vocalist Nivek Ogre and musical collaborator Mark Walk continue the evolution of their sound with an even more cinematic approach.
UnDeveloped opens with the short and unsettling 101 Intro leading into 101 with squelching synths setting the stage for one of the most accessible songs on the album, a hard drum beat, harsh guitar jags and even harsher machine noises, Ogre chanting “Who do I have to fuck? I don’t know,” in his trademark rasp. Crash follows, angry guitars chug, an ominous piano plunks and Ogre growls about “medical nightmares“, “wake up neverland” and “nowhere left to run” expressing his thoughts on overmedicated celebrity deaths and the broken state of our health care system.
Comedown starts out as a shadowy mood piece before the disco beats kick in and Ogre questions “When are you going to come down here and blow my mind?” Bellew is a departure of sorts, a pretty midtempo arrangement with Ogre’s smoky vocals giving way to actual emotional singing, then his virtually unadorned singing duets with the smoky effects, matching the quirky keyboard melodies.
Hollow is a deep house number suitable for the dance floor tweaked just so with Ogre’s creepy vocals. TraGek starts out sounding like a spooky dance song but opens up into an almost pretty chorus with backing vocals, Ogre sings about “pushing through the voodoo fringe” and “watching to entertain.”
The hidden track Collidoskope brings unDeveloped to a close, Walk’s percussion a disco lockstep, ominous bass thrumming to muscular synth attacks, Ogre singing about only he knows what. The beats hit and the synths chug then die out as a looped man’s voice speaks “Game plays itself out into the decisions of life.“
On unDeveloped we dance, are entertained, educated and even made a bit uneasy by the weird and wonderful arrangements of Ogre and Mark Walk, AKA ohGr.
(Review by Bret Miller)