January 17, 2017

EP: Okin Osan - Are You Game?

Okin Osan's debut is filled with sun-dazed daydreams.

I’m gulping down a tall glass of water. I tip up a bit too much and it starts trickling down my neck, seeping into my t-shirt. It’s scorching hot; my new house has no air-conditioning – so I decide to fully embrace it, tipping the whole glass over my head. I’m desperate to feel the ocean, so I head to the kitchen, grab the salt shaker, pouring it down my front. Now, all I’m looking for is the right sound. I grab my laptop, squinting through the stinging, about to search for a 45-minute YouTube clip of ocean sounds. But I’ve left Okin Osan on – Are You Game? is already playing. This is even better – it’s ideal; I’m in Sydney, by the seaside, salt-water running through my skin cells. At least until this tap water dries and I open my eyes, remembering that I’m still stuck inland, in Australia, at home with no air-conditioning. At least Okin Osan can let a girl dream.

Okin Osan is Sydney-sider, Rose Chan. Are You Game?, her debut, is full of sun-dazed daydreams and for good reason. Garage-inspired soundscapes, lightly tinged with touches of '60s surf, are spread across all seven tracks of this EP. This release lets love songs twist into something different – we’re still given our beloved hand-holding anthems, but we also see something new within Chan’s songwriting; full of warmth, it’s like she writes her songs while staring into the sun. Fuzzy guitar lines simmer below the surface as Chan’s vocals float above: “If I could choose who falls in love with me / I would sure choose the sun.” Occasionally, this haziness is interrupted with bursts of liveliness as Chan shouts, rushed – as if she’s backing herself up: “Tell / tell / tell / tell me darling.” Throughout the EP, Chan mingles between these two types of energy – she’s either languidly simmering, or bubbling over completely, raw and excited. This is what makes this EP feel like a Sydney seaside to me: this release sounds like how it feels to float in saltwater. You’re either chilling with your stomach to the sky, staring straight up as the water breathes beneath you, gently – or you’re diving under a wave a moment too late, as it crashes above your head and floods your ears out. The ocean lives between two extremes, as does Are You Game?. So when all your skin is asking for is a little bit of sun, and your tastebuds are begging for the flavor of saltwater, Okin Osan is your lighthouse.


Listen to Okin Osan on bandcamp.

Madalyn Trewin, a scrawny Australian with way too much time on her hands, endlessly staring up at the sky. She likes to pull words out of the air and put them back together as well as she can. So, most of the time, she’s pretending she’s a poet all over her blog.