Dowsing - OKAY (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


OKAY (2016)

Asian man records

Dowsing declares "punk is dead" as they open OKAY. What strikes me as such an ironic statement is that it comes in the wake of the band's dramatic shift into newer territory, venturing into the more indie-punk side of music and moving away from the slow-burn emo tropes of old (refer to 2013's I Don't Even Care Anymore). From this album title to the names of the current crop of tracks to the lyrics they're churning out now, it seems their hiatus led to something more energetic and revitalised -- and overall, it's a spark of positivity. It's all going to be okay is the outcome and overarching theme permeating on OKAY -- emphasising that they've put ghosts to bed.

The record's much more guitar-aggressive and upbeat. Deeper lyrics, less depressed but still very melodic music-wise. In fact, a few song structures reminded me of the last PUP record while vocalist/guitarist Erik Czaja appears to have Pet Symmetry (with Evan Weiss) trickling over into a band that feels much more measured and reassured than ever. The indie-punk vibe jumps off immediately in the opening tracks "Wasted On Hate" and "Feeling Better" -- which combine narratives on things like love, life, relationships and the music community in general. From bands to crowds and such. Same applies for "Grunge For Life" (which feels like a more serious piece of commentary on the music scene) as well as the catchier/poppier take on "Dissolve". 

The middle of the record tapers off a bit with some mid-tempo jams that don't register as much but Dowsing save the best for last with two amped-up jams. "Outside" and "Red Legs Kicking" are speedy in-your-face statements that traverse the new grounds the best. The latter even has a post-hardcore feel to it that, like much of the record, isn't too over-produced or too garage/demo-ish. OKAY doesn't fit into the band's continuity as they've clearly moved on. And they've struck a smart musical balance doing so. Not too jarring a shift but one that recognises where the guys are in life. Older. Wiser. Smarter. And they're right. Things feel like they're gonna be more than okay.