Release Date: Mar 27, 2012
Record label: Glass Note
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Noise Pop, Neo-Psychedelia
Bradley Oberhofer is a 21-year-old dude who fronts his own band, also called Oberhofer. He started making music as a kid in his Tacoma bedroom, and is now resident in Brooklyn. You might take these facts, add them to song titles such as ‘Yr Face’ and ‘Homebro’ and build the presumption that Brad is some scuzzy Wavves kid who rolls out of bed first thing in the afternoon and makes a beeline for the weed grinder.
The band Oberhofer is, essentially, a vehicle for its main man, Brad Oberhofer – still a relative youngster at 21 years old. There are other band members, but it’s Brad’s character that drives the album. It’s his ebullient charm, it’s his melody, it’s his heartbreak. From the opening piano line, it becomes apparent that Time Capsules II is an album rich with endearing naïvety; a commercial release on a mission to cheer you.
OberhoferTime Capsules II[Glassnote; 2012]By Colin Joyce; July 25, 2012Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGTweetThere are some albums that, despite your better judgements, you just can’t help but like. Despite any attempts to reduce it to generic post-millenial indie pop, Oberhofer’s Time Capsules II, which hit shelves all the way back in March, has become one of those records for me. I can tell myself any number of lies about its tired guitar phrases and sickeningly sweet glockenspiel runs, but when it comes down to it, Brad Oberhofer, the man behind the Oberhofer name, has instilled an unbridled joy into this work.
Oberhofer's saccharine surf-pop has been bubbling under our trending topics ever since the sparkling, loose-vibes gem "o0Oo0Oo" charmed us a couple years ago. Unlike virtually all of his contemporaries, Brad Oberhofer took an extended sabbatical before putting out his debut full-length Time Capsules II—making it a fresher, grander, and altogether tougher sound in the notoriously flimsy realm of beach-pop. Sure you've heard these songs before, but "Away Frm U" is adorned with a mint, studio-applied sheen and "o0Oo0Oo" sounds like it's been given an oil change.
From the hooky rock & roll of Smith Westerns, to the '80s and '90s lo-fi revival of Yuck, to the shimmering dream pop of Puro Instinct, the 2010s are a great time to be a young musician. Bedroom-based endeavors are taken seriously, while artists with more polished aspirations are just an audio software-equipped laptop away from a crisp recording, and options for distribution are seemingly infinite. Oberhofer brainchild Brad Oberhofer is a prime example of a young contemporary musician negotiating his place in this new landscape; his 2010 debut single o0o0o0o0o was decidedly lo-fi, but by fall 2011 he was in the studio with veritable producer to the stars Steve Lillywhite (U2, Rolling Stones, Talking Heads).
The epitome of the Oberhofer sound is tangible from the very beginning. There are teenage love references, weird twinges and a voice of typical Americana; uplifting, chaotic cries and an ever present xylophonic jangle. The understated energy of drums, bass and guitar underpin a canvas upon which Brad Oberhofer explodes weird, nuclear fireworks of melody and intricate arpeggios.
There is an odd innocence about this Brooklyn-based four piece led by 21-year-old Brad Oberhofer – odd, because it feels artfully constructed rather than naturally occurring. As the title of their debut album suggests, they are harking back to a less cynical age when love could be discussed in simple, heartfelt terms and girlfriends called you on the landline, not the mobile phone. Contemporary influences can be detected throughout – "Heart" sounds a bit like Animal Collective, "Haus" like Arcade Fire – but more than anything Oberhofer's optimistic, melodious pop-rock, all "oohs" and "ooh-e-ooh-e-oohs", takes its cues from the Beach Boys.
Time Capsules II, the debut album by Brooklyn’s Oberhofer, is lyrically and musically focused on the ecstatic rush of young love and the emotional fragility attached to it. From the dramatic, fluttering piano intro of “Heart”, it’s evident that Oberhofer has set its ambitions sky-high. The spiraling orchestral build leads into the shimmering guitar on “Landline”.
You have to wonder: Had Brad Oberhofer been born with a different last name, would the songs he wrote turn out differently? Presumably, a lifetime of saying the name "Oberhofer" has made him particularly fond of the sound of the letter "O": Not a song goes by on his eponymous band's debut album without him embellishing a chorus with an "oh oh oh," massaging a jaunty piano line with an "oooh oooh oooh," or adding extra syllables to words like "know" and "gold. " He even pays tribute to the letter and its sonorous tones with a centerpiece track titled "oOoO" that, true to its alternating capitalization, pits the "oh oh ohs" against the "oooh oooh oohs" to determine which makes the ultimate "O" sound. (It ends in a draw.
Twenty-one-year-old bedroom popcrafter Brad Oberhofer is a lone wolf if there every were one. In the figurative sense, the Tacoma woodsy turned Brooklyn hoodie composed and recorded most of the myriad instrumentals on his anticipated debut album, Time Capsules II, alone in the studio but for some helpful nudges from legendary U2 producer Steve Lillywhite. But in the literal sense, he deserves this comparison because of what he shows on his shimmering baroque ’n’ roll debut: the man can howl.