Nnamdï Ogbonnaya is a restless soul. In parallel with a solo career the Chicago multi-instrumentalist has drummed in math-rock band Monobody, played bass for indie outfit Lala Lala, and is co-owner of Sooper Records.
He’s equally restless when it comes to his own output, with past releases including a punk EP and a jazz tribute to Looney Tunes composer Carl Stalling. His sixth album, Please Have A Seat, also has a loose concept: to make every track hummable and pop-focused, which left him pondering the nature of success and its potential trappings.
It’s a conundrum explored most directly on ‘I Don’t Wanna Be Famous’. Although not the album’s strongest track, it is one of its most straightforwardly commercial. There’s an intentional irony in how he uses this hip hop backdrop to nimbly rap about the perils of fame: “I just want a million new fans and plays / Then I wanna ride that massive wave / Blowin’ all the money on diamonds.”
It’s one of many vocal personas he adopts across the genre-fusing tracks. Elsewhere he moves onto autotuned R&B (‘Armoire’), psych and hard-rock (‘Dibs’), gospel (‘Dedication’), and prog-opera (the Queen guitar break on ‘Anxious Eater’). He even finds the energy to produce two parodies of ’50s furniture adverts, which are inserted towards the end of ‘Grounded’ and ‘Dedication’.
Performed with a couple of frequent collaborators, his production and stylistic tics manage to create unity across the multi-genre record. Despite this, listeners should only take a seat at his table if they enjoy tapas.
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