Christopher Dexter Greenspan’s last EP under the oOoOO moniker was entitled Our Love Is Hurting Us. This record, his first LP despite actively releasing records for about three years, is called Without Your Love. What both of these releases tell us is that love is a necessary but, at least for Greenspan, mostly malevolent force; it causes more issues than it solves. Without Your Love finds positive, life-affirming love to be an illusion, or at least just out of reach.
Without Your Love sounds quintessentially oOoOO. If you’ve been following Greenspan’s career to this point, the songwriting, the aesthetic choices, the influences are all in keeping with oOoOO and Our Love is Hurting Us. But on this record, Greenspan displays an economy and improved craftsmanship that imbues these songs with more staying power than his previous EPs. You can hear bits and pieces not only of witch house, but of genres and sounds that both preceded and proceeded from it. “3:51 AM” rumbles with trap’s cavernous sub-bass. The blissed-out head bobs of “Stay Here” are borrowed from the Weeknd playing next door. “Crossed Wires” is a discomfiting Haxan Cloak excursion. Closer “Across A Sea” is a melancholic dirge that wouldn’t sound out-of-place on a Washed Out record, were it not for the pitch-shifted vocals.
This makes the mood, oOoOO’s failed wrestling match with love, striking. There’s a patience to the songwriting here, where elements bubble up and fade away as they fulfill their utility, or songs stretch out a melodic theme until it becomes a trance. And when in those trances, Without Your Love convinces itself that it’s better off without any love, even when, once it breaks out of that trance, it’s back after it. While oOoOO doesn’t display the sheer discomfiting power of a Haxan Cloak, the emotive abilities of a Balam Acab, or the rhythmic intensity of an Evian Christ, Without Your Love pulls from all of them and leaves with a solid, worthwhile listen.
Essential Tracks: “3;51 AM”, “Without Your Love”