Otouto is Japanese for “younger brother”. Nowhere near as stinky are the band of the same name from Melbourne, who sound like a mix of Bjork and The Pixies.
The self-proclaimed music enthusiast in me is salivating over the band I am about to introduce to you. With an innate desire for wholesomely rich and vibrant music, Otouto tick all the boxes for me in the way of music ability; seamlessly encompassing creative expression and diverse sounds all at once, then dispensing them through a pair of speakers.
Otouto – “otto-oo-toe,” Japanese for younger brother – are a Melbourne-based indie-pop trio comprising of two harmonizing sisters, Hazel and Martha Brown (of Banoffee), alongside percussionist Kishore Ryan. This three-piece exhibit their unconventional musicality and clear rejection of popular music production effortlessly. It is essentially what has made these musicians stand out from the endless sea of indie bands currently flooding the Australian music scene.
The dismissal of percussion as the be-all and end-all sound has shone through in their tracks as the girls’ delicate harmonies and gentle vocals don’t require much else for substance.
Their lucid sound in their first release, Pip, draws comparison to the sounds of Icelandic musician Björk and American folk singer Jolie Holland. Think the early music of Bjork or better still the The Sugarcubes meets The Pixies. The sound on their album is angular with sharp edges, but placid vocals.
While Otouto certainly create a name for themselves amongst highly prolific musicians around the globe, their ability to capture a sound unlike anybody else lies in their bizarre use of kitchen utensils and cookware as percussion. If you listen carefully you can hear the distinct sounds of pots and pans being beaten with a wooden spoon in jarring and unsteady time keeping. Undoubtedly, this adds volumes to the unique-factor of the band.
Since the release of their debut in 2010, the group have toured throughout North America and Canada and played alongside an extensive list of prominent international acts; Casiotone for the Painfully Alone (USA), Coco Rosie (FRA/USA), Dan Deacon (USA), Lightning Bolt (USA), King Khan & The Shrines (GER), Micachu & The Shapes (UK), Best Coast (USA), Os Mutantes (Brazil) and Beirut (USA), plus Australian talents such as Cloud Control, Sally Seltmann and Sarah Blasko.