London O’Connor Circles the Triangle

There’s something rough and entirely genuine about London O’Connor‘s debut album, O∆ (pronounced Circle Triangle). The album is centered around uber-catchy bedroom pop with hip hop currents and ambient textures. In other words, O∆ is the perfect album for the exploratory feeling that hangs to springs emerging coattails.

The album opens with “OATMEAL.” Feeling like undiscovered gem from Milo or serengeti or Open Mike Eagle, “OATMEAL” blends ambient bass synths and lo-fi percussion for an instrumental base that is elegantly simple. London O’Connor’s distant and non-committal vocals are the perfect top off to the track. This opening song, like most of O∆, has the feel that it could have been recorded in the apartment next to yours without any of the surface noise that accompanies DIY production.

And this attention to creating an intimate sound space gives O∆ a power that doesn’t come through often on releases. From beginning to end, London O’Connor’s debut bubbles with surrealist gestures that, rather than obfuscate their scenes, elucidate an inner tension that makes it feel as though its listeners have known its creator for far longer than they have. By the time the album ends, you truly feel as though you and O’Connor are friends, which is a hard thing to create.

One of the reasons this happens is because the entire record balances tone so effectively. It is neither completely melancholy nor completely saccharine, and its lyrics are incisive without losing their warmth–case in point being “NOBODY HANGS OUT ANYMORE.” A burning indictment of internet chill, “NOBODY HANGS OUT ANYMORE” shows an artist who is keenly aware of their social status and the normality of it. Plus, it’s a catchy song.

O∆ is not anthemic, but it is not completely introverted either. Because the album doesn’t chose to land anywhere specific on this continuum, it has a mumbled warmth to it. London O’Connor is able to create a sense of genuineness that will open up even the staunchest scorpio in the world. And this quality of the album seems to be an extension of O’Connor himself–who talks about crying in front of DMX in an interview with Complex.

The album hits its summation in its concluding track, “SURVIVE.” The final track seems to be a combination of Anticon-esque rap and Echo Falls’ indie pop. It’s melancholic tone is juxtaposed by its uplifting instrumental build. “SURVIVE” may not tie up any of the threads that had been exposed in the album, but it does offer a sense of closure to the journey that the speaker of the album goes through.

O∆ won’t get any summer party started. O∆ won’t give you sex appeal. But these aren’t its goals. O∆ will offer a glimpse into a day in the life of someone going through the motions of growing up. O∆ will worm its way into your heart no matter how cold you think you are. London O’Connor has struck something real in his debut.

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