Orange certainly makes a fitting album title for Boston-based Oh, Malô’s latest release. The color’s vibrancy nicely matches the bright tone of “Happy Birthday,” and the lyrics of “Miss You,” much like darker shades of orange, hold a powerful intensity. Despite the melancholy, heartache-filled stories of both songs, the overall effect of the EP is much brighter than Red and Bluethe first two releases in the band’s three-part EP set.

Oh, Malô knows exactly how to bring relatable optimism to those who have suffered from rough breakups and goodbyes. The lyrics acknowledge the emotional distress of a broken heart, while the music provides uplifting closure. Orange perfectly ties together with Oh, Malô’s previous EP’s, concluding the breakup story arc—the motif of all their EPs thus far.

 

Orange introduces two big firsts for the band: It’s their first release available on Spotify, and it’s the first of their EPs that features acoustic guitar and percussion. The percussion and guitar on “Miss You” keep the song light, while the bass pulses with its own lines and drives the song forward. Vocalist Brandon Hafetz’s yearning lyrics graze smoothly over the opening guitar riff and match the sustained melody in their constant push forward.

Oh, Malô nails time and rhythm on their birthday tune as well. The fluidity of “Happy Birthday” masks its unique septuple meter, which hardly diverts attention from the delicate vocals. And as a song about the space needed between two people after a breakup, the track deceives with its upbeat sound. Hafetz sings that two years ago, he “said it all,” that last year “he could barely speak” to his loved one, and that this year it was out of choice that he did not wish his love a happy birthday. The contradiction echoes the song’s story and message: Breaks often come with a slew of memories, difficult communication, and—in time—renewed confidence.

 

Oh, Malô has gigs booked through early August, with shows at the Institute of Contemporary Art, The Middle East, and Red Room @ Cafe 939, to name a few. They’ll have copies of their EPs in tow throughout their Boston tour this summer, and come September, Oh, Malô will release their full debut album. The album will include the six songs on the EPs in addition to six new songs, each categorized into one of the three colors previewed on the EPs.

We’re looking forward to more spacey, emotional Blue-toned tunes, passion and angst from Red, and of course, sunny songs to join the lighter-hearted Orange.

Album Review (Part III): Oh, Malô – "Orange" EP
Pros
  • Delicate vocals, well-balanced sound
  • Bolder and brighter than previous releases; stands on its own
  • Individual instrumental lines in "Miss You" blend together seamlessly
Cons
  • Lyrics can be difficult to understand
  • Repetitive lyrically and musically
8.8Ironic Vibrancy

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