No one likes to hear the same story twice, and, for many, listening to the same Chainsmokers hit four times in one day becomes a drag. The electronic music scene is going through an identity crisis where everything and anything new starts to feel like a repeat of something old, but, once in awhile, a gem sticks out amongst the rest. Oh, Yuck is the brainchild of a self-produced artist whose dedication to his craft feels like jumping off a cliff with no safety net. With a little courage and a passion for sound design, Damien Verrett, going by the name of So Much Light, created what could possibly be one of 2017’s most pivotal albums in the pop-electronic genre.
Although listeners were provided with a peak at the album through a music video for “Be Afraid” and the release of the single “Full Body Mirror,” it was hard to tell what to expect from the final project as a whole. Thankfully, Verrett’s first full-length record is much more defined than it first appeared.
Oh, Yuck opens up with “New Game,” a strictly instrumental song where a prominent harp rushes you into the next song, “Little Fanfare.” Immediately catching your attention, “Little Fanfare” provides a landscape where the sound of chimes contrast with pop-electric guitar sounds, and everything just feels right. “Full Body Mirror” and “Love That Never Fades” are similar to “Little Fanfare” in the way that these tracks rely on the intricate instrumental fills and the vocal performance to guide listeners.
One of the more surprising aspects of Oh, Yuck is Verrett’s decision to incorporate “Let It Absorb You” and “Idiot Soul” from the Idiot Soul EP released in 2015. Surprisingly, these tracks situate themselves in the album seamlessly and offer fans a moment to consider the progression So Much Light has made over the past two years–from that EP to tracks like “Stomping Ground.”
“Stomping Ground” appears to be the number with the largest sound palette. With the incorporation of a variety of electronically produced sounds, it exemplifies, most importantly, Verrett’s expertise in sound design and composition. This is one of those songs that gives indie music listeners hope that maybe electronic music doesn’t have to be so streamlined to what’s on the radio. While a traditional electronic track would usually drop hard with a so-called “banger” of a chorus, Verrett instead manipulates quiet albeit prominent sounds reminiscent of old Nintendo games in order to create a dynamic track.
Ultimately, the real ingenuity behind Oh, Yuck is Verrett’s ability to craft an album that makes you very aware of what you’re listening to. Throughout the record, you find yourself picking up on the intricacies and patterns created by the instrumentals. Some may simply describe this as ‘catchy,’ but the difference between Oh, Yuck and a top 40s hit is that Verrett exhausts and pushes the limits of sound in all directions, entailing that each beat is fresh and one you probably haven’t heard yet. Oh, Yuck doesn’t rely on what people are familiar with. Instead, it explores the possibility of expanding their experiences with music.
REVIEW BY JAKE LAHAH