Otlo has invited listeners into the intimacy of lo-fi pop on Woozy, a ten-track project that serves as the Tennessee singer’s debut album.
Produced and recorded mostly within Otlo’s dorm room over the course of 15 months, Woozy spans the reaches of the bedroom pop genre with moments of mellow balladry and glittery acoustics, as punctuated by the singer’s ruminations on coming-of-age.
Otlo — known offstage as Preston Bearden — opens the project with Let Go, a track adorned in shimmering synths and twangy guitar strums.
Coasting on a fuzz rock feel and infused with shoegaze flairs, the album opener delivers the sonic equivalent of walking on air. This heavenly sound is helped along by Otlo’s vocals, so airy and angelic they might just touch the clouds, with the result feeling altogether cosmic.
Let Go is dotted with moments of ear-catching electronica, from the whirring synth sections to glitch to the subtle, reverb distortion of Otlo’s delivery.
In between these flurries, the track still retains an intimate and DIY texture, which remains a throughline for much of Woozy’s tracklist.
Strummed guitars open second track Something More, a spacey entry anchored by a slow-groove tempo and lullaby-like vocals.
Here, Otlo muses on wasted tears and the challenges of remaining in a relationship. The melancholic lyrics belie what is an otherwise uplifting tune that maintains Otlo’s knack for sky-bound aesthetics.
With its rhythmic percussion and tinkling keyboard moments, Something More looks back nostalgically on a former romance with equal parts fondness and sorrow.
The storybook quality of Woozy is best exemplified on album standout But A Dream, which flows like a fairytale with the infusion of indie-rock moments.
Otlo’s strengths clearly lie in the intersection of mellow electronics and soft-rock, with But A Dream even boasting an all-too-rare fading outro (bring them back!).
Later, Otlo ventures into video game aesthetics with Fluorescent, an entry every bit as dazzling as its title suggests. With its futuristic keys and spacey ambience, the song feels like what Mario of Nintendo might play if he was going through a breakup.
Subtly adorned in these gameplay sounds, Fluorescent treds new sonic territory without sacrificing Woozy’s atmospheric motifs. Elsewhere, on the title track, Otlo sings hazily of changing seasons atop muffled white noise, while Stay finds the singer at the heart of his charms.
Here, Otlo’s instrumentation crescendos with hypnotic effect, as organs and electric guitars soundtrack his reflections on a partner to whom he has “nothing to say.”
Otlo heads to the cosmos on the blissfully celestial Until We Meet — a track that could easily be spun during a spaceship joyride — while the penultimate Keeping Control, sees the musician look to the futility of control, delivering up a sweet drop of AIR & Beach House inspired goodness.
Otlo’s efforts culminate on Maybe I Will stripping back the instrumentation with sparse production and languid pacing.
View this post on Instagram
With Woozy, Otlo delivers the kind of nostalgic melancholia that might feel at home on the soundtrack of one of Pixar’s more earnest animations. It’s a perfect gem of alt-indie electronica that, safely to say, keeps us all seated in the front row.
Listen to Otlo’s debut album Woozy below.