The twisting and turning sounds of Ōtepoti post-punk trio Opposite Sex have led both their keen fans and casual listeners down unexpected paths.
Their self-titled 2011 debut album was badged (in part at least) as ‘an absurdist-logico mix of Euro pop…’ while 2015’s sophomore release ‘Hamlet’ was more free form while eerily dark. Album number three, ‘High Drama’, continues with this disruptive route-taking, their tightly coiled music becoming, in parts, more uncompromising in execution. As album titles go, ‘High Drama’ seems to describe the themes perfectly, with songs like the propulsive Shoots Me Like a Knife and the visceral Combine Harvester demanding attention immediately.
Combine Harvester in particular has a great lyric about the “loving arms” of that machine, inspiring much vivid imagery amongst the bleak humour. The intensity of Dick on a Throne, and Owls Do Cry contrasts with the deceptive quiet calm of Breath in a Dish, and Dinosaur, but there is somehow a familiar Opposite Sex sound running through the whole album, pulling it together as a whole.
There is a tonal alchemy to Opposite Sex that solidifies with each album. Reg Norris’ dissonant and uncompromising guitar has become a trademark sound, along with Lucy Hunter’s and Tim Player’s grounding rhythm section, and Hunter’s increasingly distinctive vocal delivery. ‘High Drama’ is not a comfortable listen, and demands a lot from the audience, but the rewards are great.