When I sat down to listen to OhBree’s Feed Me Poison, I was intrigued but unsure. Turns out, this four-song EP is an amalgamation of nearly everything I loved about music while growing up and coming of age between the early 1990s and early 2000s.
OhBree, a nine-piece extravaganza from Philly, has been making music since 2010. Fronted by songwriter, pianist, and vocalist Adam Scott—whose voice reminds me of both They Might Be Giants and “Weird Al” Yankovic—the band’s jazz-inspired pop-rock brings listeners on a candy-coated exploration of the void that resides within us all.
OhBree Sneak the Big Stuff In
The EP kicks off with “Manfish,” a quirky marriage of guitar and drums thoughtfully paired with ska-style cowbells and horns.
The main riff is appealing in its steady repetition—picture a 1940s cartoon character bopping up and down in the back seat of a car—and the lyrics take a direct, somewhat aggressive look at reality. It’s a reevaluation of life packaged within a vibrant, toe-tapping exterior.
This theme continues with “C’est La Vie,” an unpredictable, Neutral Milk Hotel–esque tune. The vocals, warm despite their dark lyrics, balance out music that feels like you’re standing in the rain (thanks especially to the melancholic horns). These elements do well in trading off emotional responsibility: being optimistic is well and good, but it rarely lasts.
The beginning of “(Does Your) Ghost (Haunt the Place You Die In, Or Does It Go Home?)” instantly brought me back to 1997’s The Weird Al Show theme song.
The energetic, circus-like sound gives off a vaudeville vibe, but that fun is simply a saccharine coating on the bitter pills life makes us swallow. (Take the opening line, “If there’s one thing in life you can be sure of, it’s that you will certainly die and so will everyone you love,” as an example.) The song is less than a minute and a half long, and that brevity serves as a sort of palate cleanser—if you like to cleanse your palate with gummy bears, anyway.
As the lyrics imply, “Moon”—the EP’s final song—feels like riding a carousel that resides in space, or perhaps in the tunnel from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. The orderly beat coupled with the unsteady, zombie-like creep of the horn section feels both on and off balance, as if that carousel has a hitch. Expect this relatively slow tune to send you adrift.
Feed Me Poison takes me back to the Claymation movies of childhood. It’s enjoyable and offers a bright sense of wonder, but it has depth that a flat image can’t quite capture. Methodical, mercurial, and somewhat delicate—like the narrators’ sanity, in some instances—it presents a grander world than you expect at first glance.
While this EP may look cartoonish on the surface, there’s a clear emotional narrative that connects each song to help listeners embrace and overcome the vast, shared, space-like emptiness of the human condition.
Bravo, OhBree. I’ll be back for more. (And you can listen for yourself here.)