Box Records is a record label I got to know about through weird pop collective Dorcha (reviewed here on the blog) whose debut album Honey Badger was seriously weird and seriously awesome at the same time. Above anything else it was impossible to categorize, which a quality Weirdo Shrine is always looking out for. Lucky for me Box Records did not leave me hanging for too long, because their new signing Obey Cobra does the weird and unfathomable thing again (and then some!) on their terrific debut album Oblong.
Oblong starts off with the majestic OK Ultra, a song like the ouverture to a sinister space abduction opera. It’s got angelic choral vocals, heavy doom-laden riffs, noisy guitars, and a whole lot of of spacey atmosphere.
Next is Capita, a completely different world now, much noisier, chaotically produced, noisy racket song. Like The Mae Shi and Savages got into a horrific bloody catfight or something. Followed by Sunflowers, which sounds more 90s shoegaze oriented, and forms a nice breath catcher after all that violence. Obey Cobra displays an impressive feminine vocal palette, basically allover the place and still all in service of the atmosphere of the song whether it’s spooky background choirs or distorted yelling. The overall atmosphere is dark, and abrasive, yet exciting and adventurous, without a dull moment in sight for miles…
Sophia Can’t Walk is a song that picks up the pace a little, with an anxious contemporary postpunk feel fitting right in with bands like Dry Cleaning, Drahla, and the likes. There’s a brooding tension in this song that builds up and up and eventually erupts in a magnificent shout fest catharsis. You just got to love the level of emotion and guts that are poured into it.
Which goes for Oblong as a whole: this is an album that does not give two cents about being hip or trendy or how high you should wear your trousers at the moment. It’s completely self-centered in the best of ways. Whether playing dark shoegaze, noisy doom pop, or jumpy postpunk, this band is completely in a world of their own. Be glad you are invited in…
I had the pleasure to be able to fire a couple of questions at the band, which were fired back by the band’s lead singer K Wood. Check out the result right here:
How are you right now, and how have you been doing the past Corona period?
Hi Jasper, we are all doing fine, individually busy over summer but it’s good! The past year
and forever has been a strange time but in relation to the band especially due to having
released our debut album ‘Oblong’ in April 2020 – pretty fresh into the first lockdown and not being able to travel outside of your own house let alone gigging and having the opportunity to perform the album further afield. It blows my mind that our last gig was Dec 2019?! Thankfully we have had a huge amount of support from both Box Records, who has just released the album to vinyl, and local music heroes at Buzz Magazine, Cosmic Carnage and Adam Walton on BBC Radio Wales. And it gave us a chance to be creative in different ways where we’ve made our own music videos for a lot of the tracks on the album which you can find on our YouTube channel.
Can you tell me what Obey Cobra stands for, who you are, and why you started a
We like to view Obey Cobra as a collective, it’s heavily influenced by blending art and music.
We’re not rooted in one thing and people involved can change. When we first started, myself (K Wood) and Rory joined Gareth & Steveo and were called ‘Oblong’ – we were interested in mixing doom with synth pop. We used to play a lot of house shows across Cardiff and it was mainly an improvisational band. When Obey Cobra was formed with the addition of Rosie and Ian we were already more clear on what the debut album was going to be like.
Can you tell me about your musical backgrounds?
Everyone is deep-rooted into the South Wales DIY music scene coming from bands such as
Made of Teeth, Boris a Bono, Inanna Meets the Dawn
Who would you consider your creative kindred spirits?
Hugely – I think most of us are driven by creativity in most that we do, we’re made up of film
makers, artists, music producers, and a blacksmith (?!) & it feels like we really elevate each
Did you start Obey Cobra with a set plan on what it would be, or is it more fluid?
Also; who or what decides what the direction is going to be?
We all have a say in what direction it goes in but it is very fluid, everyone writes music or has
a role to play and we constantly try to push our boundaries through improvisation and
developing ideas until we have something solid. Most of us take on the bedroom producer
approach with structures or first draft ideas and then bring it to the band where we then
rework the songs to suit us as a whole.
What was the best experience you have had as a band so far, and what are you still
looking forward to?
We have a lot of fun in most things that we do but when we recorded ‘Oblong’ we got the bare bones down at Foel Studio in Mid-Wales in a really remote cottage and studio space which was really amazing. We then used Rory’s family house to record the rest over a few
days and it got really experimental and weird where we were recording beat up cymbals
being thrown down stairs and wonky saxophone solos!
What are you guys talking about when you are not making music?
We can talk about everything, we are all really close friends but we often like to be creative
together and share things that have inspired or interested us.
What are your dreams about?
Too many bizarre, nightmarish things! We are working on writing a psychedelic short horror
film that is based around our dreams which we will film and do the soundtrack to so hold
tight and you’ll be able to delve right in.
What should Weirdo Shrine readers do immediately after reading this?
Go float in the nearest natural body of water to you.