Chicago duo OK Cool made their debut in 2020 with the release of Anomia. Bridget Stiebris and Haley Bloomquist are friends who have collaborated together on previous projects, such as The Weekend Run Club. With ample free time on their hands due to the global coronavirus pandemic, they decided to write a song, which developed to become “I Can’t Stand in Ice Skates.” This material led to the formation of their latest project, OK Cool.
The band is now back with their sophomore EP entitled Surrealist. The record is composed of five tracks and kicks off with an opening line that earnestly yearns for a connection:
“I never thought I’d be so desperate for awkward human interaction.”
Bridget and Haley have released a set of tracks that explore an array of raw emotions, while remaining cohesive in nature. Surrealist infuses punk guitar riffs, emo melodies, crashing drums, and indie rock vocals — blending everything together with punk attitude and pop elements. Songs make references to the “Kill Bill” movie series with alludes of swords and death punches.
The opener “I Should Buy a Sword” sets the mood for what’s yet to come with its DIY vibes and vulnerability. The infectious “Five Finger Exploding Heart Technique” presents an open narrative about the experiences and challenges that women uniquely face; including the dangers of walking alone, being catcalled, and all of the unwanted attention — a topic that’s extremely relevant now more than ever.
“It’s just a little too bright when I stand outside. If anyone sees, I hope they don’t recognize me. I don’t wanna be perceived as anything.”
“Hertz 2B” is a dreamy atmospheric shift in sound. While it is the lengthiest track on this EP, it still manages to flash quickly by. “Hypervigilant” and closing track “Divers” sonically expands that atmospheric scenic route and otherworldly sense of escape. The melancholy driven “Divers” is the perfect finale as the EP winds down — as the last note fades out, listeners are left longing for more (“I tread in the water for a minute, hoping that I won’t drown.”)
Surrealist captivates with its strangely inspiring messages of resilience. The prominent highlights of Surrealist are its honesty and resonating lyrics that sentiment the struggles of life and the hard times we endure.
“I Should Buy a Sword”
“Five Finger Exploding Heart Technique”
Release Date: March 26, 2021
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Review by: Bri Rodriguez