At 17, when the rest of us were figuring out our angst across a spectrum of unsubtle emotional genres, or showing off our newly-minted blues riffs in suffocating adolescent throngs, sadboy Orlando Gloom was making digitally-processed cardboard-box beats and putting them on tumblr.
Since then, Gloom’s Bowiesque rotation of musical faces (Dave is Ok, Glass Random, Camp David) have each contained distinct variations on his brand of internet otherness. An Evening With Orlando Gloom, Gloom’s most recent EP, is no exception. Aesthetically, Gloom is still internet through and through (“I’m afraid of being bored / So I’ll take anything to let me stay indoors”). But Gloom is tumblr with a twist: he cares. This duality is present throughout the EP; while he’s definitely the figure nonchalantly sipping white wine on his album cover, he’s also the guy dancing relentlessly on stage at every one of his shows. The irony-laden passion is also captured lyrically (“I love you to the max”). Sonically these songs are at home in the company of Neon Indian and M83, while showcasing a baritone register to rival Ian Curtis or Matt Berninger. The porno-shoegaze pads and video game synths he uses throughout the EP work seamlessly to advance the beat and accentuate the collection’s greatest asset: these songs are catchy AF. Even if Gloom’s aesthetics are ‘seriously’ bored-core, in the struggle between passion and apathy, the melodic strength of Gloom’s arrangements make it a no-contest. (Self-released, orlandogloom.bandcamp.com) Bryn Rieger