It feels like more than just dumb luck, it feels like fate. I found myself by chance attracted to see The Obsessives play live in my new homebase of Jacksonville Florida at 1904 music hall opening for Sorority Noise. Originally hailing from around my hometown of Washington DC (they started playing in a lot of the clubs and bars I used to frequent). I had first stumbled across their bandcamp online from a friends recommendation and was instantly attracted to their debut LP. At the show I picked up their first lp Heck no, Nancy and I have played it non stop ever since. I can honestly say that I am obsessed with The Obsessives. They are the complete package of emotive post punk music that blends together a perfect harmony of melodic vocals with pitch perfect songwriting. They have a completely lock step rhythm section and an amazing penchant for cultivating their pathos into their performance. They delivered an amazing live show and their records and production values both sound great. I got a chance to meet the band after their show and ask them a few questions and I was blown away by how humble these talented musicians were. Not only had the group just delivered an energetic and kick butt show where they pleased the crowd and energized a performance that was replete with anthems to broken hearts and radio friendly crowd pleasers, but they also triggered something deep in me in a way that only few bands have done before.
The Obsessives admitted to me that they split songwriting duties between all of them with their lead guitarist and vocalist contributing the lion’s share of effect. The group shared with me their influences were as varied as the Beatles and the Killers, but they clearly have the same kind of urgency as the Strokes and the Smiths, with a kick butt seemingly retro flair tied to a lively and good for the soul serving of nostalgia and modern ripped from the headlines head bangers.
One of my favorite tracks on Heck no Nancy is Nodding off (fucked/fine), when they sing “high schools sucks, when you are stuck on somebody who has given up” they cast a line into my heart and tug away at memories of crushes and friendships during those tumultuous days past, those kinds of emotional fishing lines are present throughout their discography and it is a credit to their skills as songwriters that they can cast their lines in deep water and lure in hungry listeners.
On their self titled debut The Obsessives fish with the perfect bait. The song “It’s Ok if” has subtle harmonies, a jutting bass line, and dosie-doh of layered construction that will linger in the back of your mind after the song finishes playing. Off that same album the song “Sometimes’’ is a rock and pop masterpiece. The mere fact that this song hasn’t been cast in commercials yet or tied to movie trailers or heavily overplayed on the radio is in my opinion a crime. Listening to Sometimes you will hear how criminally overlooked the song is, it is close to perfect with clever breakdowns toward the end which let me tell you, live in concert, are a ton of fun. Everything from the clapping to the use of repetition at the end, “that velvet dress” , the overall cleverness of the lyric or the captivating tonality of the vocal, this song is a hit, and deserves to be listened too. I would highly recommend the Obsessives to anyone who has ever enjoyed the radio in the past ten years, but I think all fans of music could find a gem in their collected works. I wish the group nothing but the best and would relish an opportunity to see them live again. Check them out.