After a sensation debut LP in 2019, there was a lot of anticipation leading up to Origami Angel’s sophomore album. My feelings were mixed. I was excited to hear what Origami Angel’s new record presents; however, I was nervous that “Gami Gang” won’t live up to the experience that “Somewhere City” gave. From the jump, I can say that the approaches to the record are fairly similar, but the band takes a stand to show which portions of their sound they wanted to capitalize on through this release.
From first glance, this record looks incredibly impressive- clocking in at 20 tracks. 20 tracks? That is a lot of music. The trick with this much music is to ensure to not only write solid music, but to also keep listeners entertained to experience the entire record. Origami Angel does just that.
In their debut release, Origami Angel emphasized their intricate approach to Pop Punk music in terms of melodic and harmonic function with over-the-top orchestration to support it. That intent remains exactly the same throughout this release; rather, it is matured and more refined. However, a point that made “Somewhere City” stand out in its time was the connection from track to track. That album was set up to lead the listener to each track through the next (no stops). There is some instances of this on “Gami Gang,” but it is not as strong as it was in the debut record. With 20 tracks, that isn’t surprising. It would be extremely difficult to place each song, where it perfectly streams together. Also, in defense of that choice, having a constant stream of sound for 20 tracks may deter listeners from experiencing the entire album because they may feel like it is too long- in that scenario.
Origami Angel is the prime student of contrast when it comes to Pop Punk music. They often toy with the musical approach of homorhythmic playing (all the same) across all parts with the polyphonic approach (several moving parts). This allows for strategic moments of silence to emphasis important lyrical lines and instrumental lines as well as allowing for the instrumentals and orchestration to be just as important to the overall soundscape as the lyrics. This balance is refreshing as a lot of music being released recently has a major pull for the melody with a few shining moments for the instrumentalists- it is all important.
Branching from this, it can be said that the orchestration and instrumentals are intricate and ornate. There are time that the rhythmic nature to them are simple to complement the lyrical line, but in the moments they get the forefront, they are truly stepping up to resonate music that is quite challenging and pleasing to the ear. This is mimicked several times in the melodic line. Often times, melodies are meant to be simple- tonally and rhythmically, so listeners can easily attach to them. Origami Angel challenges this by providing several instances of “harder” melodies; meaning, if I were to write out some of their melodies of staff paper through musical notation, the rhythms would be much more difficult than the standard.
I admire this because not only are they writing a cohesive record in their characteristic style that gives hope to the Pop Punk genre, but they are doing so by creating and merging difficult melodies and rhythms AND making them sound effortless and pleasing to the ear.
This album makes you want to go to a Pop Punk house show (which Origami Angel is known for doing a few- please come back to Pittsburgh), and it shows a strong development in musicianship from the band. I am excited to see where this album takes them.
I am giving this record a 4.5 out of 5 stars.
*”Gami Gang” was released on April 30th, 2021 through Counter Intuitive Records.