Stadium Cake is the first full-length album by Australia's Oh Pep!, though the duo of Olivia Hally and Pepita Emmerichs have been at it for several years, both on the festival circuit and, with three EPs under their belt, in the studio. Their Dualtone Music debut turns a corner stylistically as they adopt a more streamlined pop sound that incorporates both electronics and grittier rock influences at least as much as the twangier folk of prior works. Most of the tunes here blend all of the above. "Happenstance," for instance, brings together piano, humming synth chords, a busy bassline, and drum groove, mandolin, and acoustic and electric guitars for a catchy foundation. That's all topped off by a syncopated vocal melody that features both singers weaving in and out of unison and harmony in the bridge and choruses. The more reflective "Crazy Feels" combines sustained keys, acoustic strings, and a mechanical pulse for most of its atmosphere, although acoustic guitar and a fuller rhythm section eventually expand the palette. For a different type of complexity, mixed time signatures mark tunes such as "The Situation" and "Seven Babies." The former is a ballad and the latter a jaunty rocker, but neither loses track of its melodic focus or its sense of ease. The album as a whole demonstrates a knack for memorable tunes, substantial lyrics, and those ear-friendly, often deceptively complex arrangements. If the band name is their most questionable decision, they're off to an enviable start.
AllMusic Review by Marcy Donelson