Perth band Ojay dip their toes into piano balladry, earworm hooks and noisy guitar rock on their latest sophomore album The Ride.
Ojay have released their sophomore album The Ride. The 12-track project arrived last month, and sees the Perth band span the reaches of pop-punk, often drawing on each genre or masterfully rendering both simultaneously. The Ride opens with the blissfully clamorous I Don’t Care, in which the band muster the unenthused attitude of the title for a banging middle finger to naysayers, as punctuated by punchy vocals courtesy of bandmate Condo.
With its pop-leaning hooks reminiscent of the opening of an early aughties teen movie, I Don’t Care effortlessly lays down the sonic groundwork of The Ride, with second track Bound opting for a grungier cut without sacrificing the catchy melodies of the current charts. The song again takes aim at detractors, with bassist Sully letting loose on the strings as vocals sing of “burning love [that] came crashing down again.”
Condo switches to whispery vocals on Bound’s mid-song tempo change, with Ojay bandmate Skills providing consistent and rhythmic drum sequences. Later, on album standout The Kids, condo sings in vocals altered by telephone static, before being accompanied by Marshy’s choral harmonies. “These kids are built like bricks,” the pair sing as piano keys bring a surprising dose of Elton John to the track.
A welcome change of pace arrives on Time Moves A Little Slower Here, which opens with the sort of monosyllabic piano keys you might here at the beginning of a theatre musical, before launching into a poppy joyride — complete with backing chants and earworm melodies — that’d feel equally at home on a Wombats album.
This willingness to veer towards pop territory appears again on Untitled Love, which is punctuated by doo-woop harmonies and lovelorn lyrics about second guessing a romance, letting someone go and being “on my own.” The proceedings slow down on the opening moments of Ecstasy Legacy, a slow-grooving reflection on the things we leave behind.
Though that track retains the noisy energy of previous cuts, it’s on Misery where Ojay try their hand at all-out balladry, with great success. The song begins with melancholic guitar strums as Condo sings of being “going to hell” and remaining “stuck between the pieces of my mind.” Elsewhere, on eight-minute epic Mr Man, Ojay pour their collective effort into a soap operatic love letter to rock à la Bohemian Rhapsody.
Embarking on both a lyrical and sonic journey, Mr Man traces topics of death, posterity, and who’s to blame for the world’s problems. A masterful combination of the band’s independent and cohesive vision, Mr Man flits between genres, instruments and vocal styles, complete with piano-laden asides, pop choruses and bass segues that again showcase Ojay’s punk sensibilities.
On title track and album closer The Ride, Ojay collate their genre excursions for an anthemic and cadence-jumping tale to the trials and tribulations of love. It’s an apt finish for an album self-assured in its commitment to pop-punk, with Ojay offering a confidence in their vision usually reserved for a band ten years their senior.
The Ride serves as the years-in-the-making follow up to Ojay’s debut album Peppermoth, which arrived in 2018. Since then, the band have released a slew of music videos in support of their new album, and completed multiple festival appearances and headline shows throughout Western Australia. Listen to the new Ojay new album The Ride here.