Notos EP Review
I first heard of The Oh Hellos via fellow IVM writer, Noah Hardwick. Perhaps I may have heard of them prior and simply glanced over them. Maybe it was their name; maybe it was my previous inclination to avoid all folk-based music like the plague. Nonetheless, I’ve learned to look past the name – and my taste in music has diversified quite a bit.
I will clarify I’m not a longtime fan. I will also add that “Notos” is an appropriate entry point to The Oh Hellos’ musical styling, which is an interesting blend of chamber folk, alternative, and bluegrass. The percussion is incredible; the use of strings is anything but dully cinematic; the overall experience is captivating and dynamic. Appropriate comparisons would include Anathallo, Adjy, and The Last Bison.
“Notos” is packed with energy. Crescendos abound, most apparent on Constellations and Torches. The title track is another highlight, with a great mix of call-and-response vocals from the band’s two members, Maggie and Tyler Heath. The pair trade off vocal responsibility, with Maggie taking lead for much of the album. However, Tyler’s voice is certainly worthy of attention as well (New River is a prime example).
Overall, the EP has a seamless, huge feeling to it. Planetarium Stickers on a Bedroom Ceiling and Mandatory Evac / Counting Cars serve as interludes that create softer moments on the EP. The various instruments are thickly-layered, and there’s plenty of nuance to each of the songs here.
Ultimately, “Notos” is a great set collage of diverse instrumentation, poetic lyrics, powerful song structures, and captivating lyrics.