Album Review: Odd Hours – norepinephrine + dopamine

Another Detroit band that we first had the pleasure of discovering at Secret Friends Fest has new music out and we couldn’t be more excited about it. Odd Hours still sticks out in my mind almost two years later as their set was definitely one of the most unique live experiences I’ve ever had. A mixture of performance art and good ole rock and roll mixed with some electronic and pop quirks grabbed my attention on that cold January night at The Loving Touch and it’s what has me hooked on their new EP, norepinephrine + dopamine.

New single and opening track, “SWTS,” which stands for “Sleeping with the Sun,” kicks norepinephrine + dopamine off with some atmosphere. Reverbed chimes instantly put you a bit on edge as Natasha Beste’s sultry vocals sing the opening lines. Beste’s vocals are unique in that she can sound like some 20’s jazz singer one moment and the next be screaming a yowl that rivals Karen O (and I don’t make that comparison lightly as O is basically my rock and roll spirit animal). You’ll be put on edge by “SWTS” but unable to resist it’s catchy beat. The video is just as artful as the band’s live set and looks like an a vintage horror movie meets 80’s music video. There are a few shows that even look like they could be featured in the opening for any season of American Horror Story, in a good way of course.

While listening to norepinephrine + dopamine I hear many more similarities between Odd Hours and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. “Lift Off” features growling guitar riffs and a repeating chorus that rivals YYY’s “Heads Will Roll.” I’m also pretty convinced that Beste was going for her best Karen O impression on the opening for “Heal Our Bodies” because if someone had told me that it was Karen O singing I would have completely believed them. The opening synths on “Heal Our Body” are reminiscent of a good 80’s horror soundtrack, or actually a lot of current horror (check the soundtrack of It Follows and The Guest to see what I mean). The synths give the track a great feeling of foreboding before jumping to a more upbeat sound around the one minute mark.

“Khaleesi” snarls to life with distorted guitars and some catchy “ooohs.” Like the bad ass Game of Thrones character it takes its name for, the track is fierce and unyielding. The pure energy and emotion Beste puts into her vocals on this track added with the complete freak out moment that happens when the guitars really let loose around the two minute mark. norepinephrine + dopamine finishes on a high note with “Morning Lovers.” Driving drums and distorted guitars back Beste’s electrified vocals and after the track ends you’re only left wanting more.

Odd Hours have put out a strong set of songs on norepinephrine + dopamine and are a great reminder of why they were one of my favorite sets back at SFF. I’ve had several of the tracks stuck in my head and I’m always left craving more after the last track ends. Mostly, I can’t wait to see what Beste and co. have in store for their live performances when they add these tracks to the mix because I know it’s going to be amazing.

Pick norepinephrine + dopamine up on Bandcamp.