The Obsessives – The Obsessives Deluxe

The Obsessives recently released the deluxe edition of their self-titled LP from 2017 for a whole new reimagining in 2019, adding in 10 new tracks that refreshes and introduces a whole new context to their sound and recording process. The Obsessives Deluxe now comes in at a densely packed 24 tracks, divided into four parts and sectioned off by a couple of songs that act as interludes. Structurally, it looks like a reshuffling of the whole album, making it sound fresh while adding a lot of interesting tidbits.

Nick Bairatchnyi and Jason Mansfield formed the band in their teenage years, stemming from their love of 90’s rock genres. A decade’s worth of refining their sound has led them to infuse some emo and math-rock to that mix with plenty of experimental flourishes. Bairatchnyi’s lyrics emphasize storytelling, and doesn’t shy away from veering off to weird or spontaneous topics with his matter-of-fact vocals.

Old favorites like “You’re My God” are given a subtle boost in definition, crisping up the overall sound that (to my ears) makes it slightly more punchy and raw. “Surfer Rosa” still sounds just as awesome, but the overall mix gives the song a sunnier disposition that somehow livens up an already feel-good tune. 

New addition “In the Spring” slots in comfortably with the old songs, but it’s explicit and visceral nature might be the reason why it didn’t make the cut previously. Which would have been a shame as this song adds a good emotional moment to this record, where the singer acts goofy to mask the darkness that’s “lurking at the bottom”.

I’d also like to point out how the numbered interludes distributed in this record (I-IV) gives it a more seamless flow. These four share a similar melody, but slowly rise in intensity with every episode until the finale explodes in a barrage of fuzzy turmoil. 

Another entry “Me and My Friends” is a wonderful addition. A heart-on-your-sleeve acoustic song that can easily remind you of your own fond memories. One that evens out “Now She’s Smoking’s” dark intensity, where grunge guitars and a foreboding atmosphere can reach out to your childhood nightmares.

The Obsessives Deluxe is a musically tight package with plenty of ups, downs and quirky detours in between. It’s 90’s alt rock with the sincerity of emo. The best of both old and new eras refined and polished to sweet indie perfection. 

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