Despite the silly pun in its title, Odonis Odonis' debut album, Hollandaze, is bold, assured, and much more varied than the work of many other artists crossing the streams of noise rock and shoegaze. Singer/songwriter Dean Tzenos is fluent in rock history, allowing him to draw from lots of different influences in unusual ways and craft intriguing juxtapositions of different traditions. “Ledged Up,” for example, features Tzenos singing in a grayed-out post-punk monotone, accompanied by a tinny industrial beat and dark surf guitars that evoke The Munsters' theme song; “Seedgazer” borrows from OutKast's “Hey Ya!” and video game music as well as more obvious dream pop trappings like heavily looped layers of guitars and vocals. For most of Hollandaze, Odonis Odonis bring real menace and muscle to noise pop and the 2010s indie surf revival, something that’s been largely missing from both styles. The title track opens the album with genuine cowabunga surf rock, complete with a plummeting riff and crashing drums that would do Dick Dale and the Ventures proud. Later, former single “Busted Lip” takes that ‘60s grind in a snarling, fuzzed-out direction that A Place to Bury Strangers would be glad to call their own, and “White Flag Riot” and “New World” borrow from punk and industrial for their outbursts. Tzenos is just as skilled on Hollandaze’s quieter moments, however: the intro to “We Are the Leftovers” shows off his flair for arrangements with subtle movement, and “Blood Feast” is pretty, creepy, and pretty creepy, as a song about heartbreak named after 1963’s pioneering, gory cult-horror film should be; synths flit like shadows down a hall, and as the song descends into chaos, Tzenos screams, “They’re gonna eat me alive!” It’s knowing, melodramatic, and slightly campy, but a great example of how Odonis Odonis use noise to blur the boundaries between moods. In-the-red levels are used as a shield and a weapon on “Basic Training,” where bruising sounds cover up bruised feelings, while closing track “Tick Tock” is as tense as it is playful. Hollandaze is an impressive debut, and since it came from a furious burst of creativity that produced dozens of demos, Odonis Odonis are just getting started.
AllMusic Review by Heather Phares