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Topshelf Records seems to be having an impeccable moment, as they are acquiring quirky and appealing budding acts like candy. At the moment, they have to boast the release of the brand new gobbinjr album Ocala Wick. A native of Madison, WI, Emma Jerk Witmer’s sound blends both her experiences in her hometown with those that surround her every day in Brooklyn, NY, producing an intrinsically alluring soundscape. The new 11 track release captures its audience with her “mean pop” ways, vocals light as a feather.
Beginning with “afraid of me”, the album establishes a more meandering tempo, allowing itself to slowly layer vocals in with production and instrumentals. While Witmer’s vocals set an ethereal tone to each track, there is beautiful, blunt honesty interlaced throughout, especially in lines such as “I’m sitting at work high.” “bap” – which features the musical talents of Heeyoon – is harmonized wonderfully, comprised of simple lyrics and a very relaxed vibe. And while the title of “fake bitch” is much more abrasive than most of the other material on the album – lest we forget “zitty mcgee” and “whydoistillcare” -, it sounds like she just isn’t putting up with anyone’s crap and has much more of a grasp on who she is than many others as she reacts to the world around her. That’s something we are completely on board with.
Even with the album’s slower pace, it seems to crawl with “whydoistillcare”, a feature perhaps more pronounced because of the depressing – and honest – title. While “sorry Charlie” begins sounding more like a funeral track than anything else, the added instrumentals create a kaleidoscope-like soundscape in which to nestle your eardrums, setting the perfect tone for sixth track “november 163”. Quirky and frustrated, delivered often in vocals that mirror a whisper, this track comes off as oddly poetic with lines like, “Your ego washes over me.” “joaquin” is deep, multifaceted in its expression, an existentialist anthem if ever there was one.
The aforementioned “zitty mcgee” feels quirky, built from the bones of what feels like a childhood soundtrack. And perhaps that’s the point, as the title references what could be considered a horrible nickname bestowed upon a person by cruel middle school children. (But I digress.) “friends” is a bittersweet track, while “immune” takes us on a very familiar journey pertaining to the loss of romance in modern society. (What’s a date?) “politely” rounds the work out quite nicely, digging at disrespectful men who catcall, grab, and insinuate their way through the day. She demands respect in the song – albeit politely -, asking to engage only men who would treat her correctly. It’s the perfect way to call out abusers and harassers, and perhaps to continue moving this conversation in the right direction. What an impactful track to leave us all with.
Overall, we’re insanely smitten with gobbinjr’s ability to bring up tough topics, and not to dance around them despite the effortlessly catchy indie pop tracks she produces. Ocala Wick is light and refreshing, and we can’t wait to play it into the summer months.
Order Ocala Wick here.