Review by: Mister Substitute
The drawing of our breath–that short inhalation before we sing, scream, cry or swim– is something I want to bring to focus: it is something we do all the time, but have you thought about the significance of this small act? The idea of the brain and body working together at the same time, preparing for a valorous moment, feeding the body with much needed oxygen because it knows the importance of your next actions is beautiful. This is how queer hyperemo artist oldphone (AKA “Greggy” they/them/he) starts their full-length album debut: with a short but recognizable deep breath that told me what was to come was genuine and from the heart, and I was entirely right.
Oldphone’s first alum Not Anymore. is equal parts hyper and emo, taking the precise beats and autotuned vocals of hyper-x music and coupling it with the heavy lyrics and twinkly guitar riffs of emo music and you have an album that takes you so many places emotionally you’ll want to Venmo Greggy for the therapy session. This album is one of extremes, of spectrums and contrasts–congruent with the overarching themes of vulnerability and transparency.
Finding a pattern in an album is always one of my favorite things because I have to ask myself if it’s something my mind is creating or if I really solved the puzzle the artist put in front of all of us. The pattern I found in Not Anymore. is that you have pairs, almost siblings, of songs. For example, the opening track “I Don’t Know Where To Go From Here (ft davyyyy)” has this simple piano part and a lower energy that in itself feels like an exasperated sigh (kind of like how you feel when you think to yourself “I really don’t know where to go from here…”). This is followed by an absolute banger of a track in “stuck; as in my life is going nowhere” which is the equivalent of drinking 2 nitro brew coffees and having to sit in an chair for an hour with the lyrics saying it all: “We can’t sit still, it’s like we’re stuck.”
And folks, this is where I would like to make a bold statement: while emo music sings about deep emotions and feelings, hyperemo makes you feel those deep emotions and feelings through meticulous composition that make you feel things so extremely and precisely that you’re able to pinpoint it in a crystal-clear metaphor.
The next pair that emphasizes the hyper in hyper emo comes from “Aries Szn (ft Nazz & Eichlers)” and “Keep It Up,” both tracks that show a glimpse of optimism (at least the will to continue) as oldphone tells us exactly who they are: an Aries with a master plan. “Concrete (ft superdestroyer)” and “Restless” bring us back down to earth tapping more into the emo aspect with, again, the titles of the songs telling the listener exactly how they’re about to feel. The album rounds off with “A Family” and “broken brain” which are both heartbreaking tracks of yearning for acceptance, just from different entities. Oldphone brings the album full-circle with the ending track giving the same feeling that the opening track provided, leaving the listener with the same feeling of having been everywhere and ultimately nowhere all at once.
Greggy is a naturally magical person: their make-up is always flawless, their hugs are always warm, and they know how to get an entire room going. Having known this about them from my few interactions with them and seeing them perform with Eichlers and Dynastic, this album was what I expected from them, and I expected a lot. It’s hyper, it’s emo, it’s honest, it’s heartbreaking, it’s effective. Having listened to all of oldphone’s singles and smaller projects, I knew a full-length album was coming and the moment I caught wind of it, I immediately got excited, and folks, Greggy did NOT disappoint.
Not Anymore. comes out on all streaming platforms on March 24th but you can listen to their single off the album “stuck; as in my life is going nowhere” on Spotify now. Also follow oldphone on Twitter and Instagram to keep up with any shows they might be playing.