(By Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker, Lead Journalist/Writer, RiffRelevant.com)
Italy’s realm of underground heavy rock appears to be exploding these days as I seem to recently discover one amazing band after another hailing from there. The latest to land on my rock ‘n roll radar is Rome’s OOPArt.
Their five-song, self-titled EP début was issued back at the end of September. Make no mistake, both the band and this studio-borne short player is simply fantastic!
The trio of Flavio Mattia Marini (guitar/voice), Andrea Ruggeri (bass/voice) and Valerio Rossini (drums) wield a mightily blues-infused, but highly energized style to say the least. It is infectiously fierce and instantly riveting right from the start.
So you call yourself a stoner rock aficionado, huh? Then this is one introductory outing you will definitely want to get friendly with as fast as possible, my friends.
Five tracks of constantly evolving, electrically charged music deeply rooted in the blues to begin with. Where it, and the trio themselves, go from there is anyone’s guess, as things are subtle one second and explosive the next.
From the unfurling of “Rough“, things begin with a bit of riff-fueled swagger as a smoother, laid back vibe propels the song. Its relaxed styling is something that OOPArt are masterfully adept at, as displayed here and on the astoundingly superb “Jupiter’s Moons“.
But for me, the finest moments offered up here are the incendiary, lava-laden blues of the incredible and aptly named “Velvet Blues“. Nothing too intricate or technically accelerated, just a kick-ass song that grooves and soothes its way throughout your auditory inlets.
Another EP defining selection is “Cleo’s Kaos“, a sultry but chugging number topped off with one of the guys who does not sing on most of this material… singing. The change in vocals only adds another dimension to this song’s overall appeal as, once again, some dazzling guitar work is applied throughout.
The trippy, EP-ending “Tornado” is definitely the most upbeat song of the five, one possessing some weirdly effect-laden spoken samplings. It is basically an instrumental that is offset with those samples as the trio take things through their paces. Moving and grooving but keeping things even-keeled, things are tightly knit and impressively enjoyable without any unneeded bells or whistles.
Dig in with OOPArt‘s S/T EP now streaming via the Bandcamp embed below, fantastic stoner blues doing their part to further Italy’s presence on the rock and roll map.