Exploded View’s 2016 self-titled album was a delight – a wibbling, wobbling, dubby take on electronic post-punk. The cold vocal delivery of Anika Henderson nestled beautifully among bleeps and bloops that fizzed atop waves and pulsars. ‘Obey’ is one of those rare cases of a sequel that’s better than the original. It remains a heavily psychedelic experience, the clarity of the band’s sound increasing tenfold. No longer an unintelligible, alien outfit, Exploded View and Henderson in particular sound more human, with a variety of textures ensuring the band’s sound is rich and vibrant throughout the album.
Here, each track is a garden, blooming with a collection of mystic flora. The luscious ‘Open Road’ combines an exploratory synth sound with a 13th Floor Elevators jug band holler as it ventures into extraterrestrial territory. Twinkling lead single ‘Raven Raven’ thuds and saunters like the Flaming Lips have got their hands on a jar of Quaaludes, whilst ‘Dark Stains’ is a bass-heavy post-punk banger that could hold its own at a rave.
While the group’s debut was bogged down a bit by a feeling of anonymity, contrastingly, ‘Obey’ bustles with character. ‘Come On Honey’, the penultimate track, is the best summation of the group to date. Beginning like a tilted pop song – all underlying sweetness – it digresses into heady, lysergic territory with a surging bassline and vocals that seem to float off the recording and into the ether. Totally immersive.