album: Ow - Pom Pom Squad
words: Gabriele Esposito-Wilcock
Ow is a stunning, emotion-packed release that explores dealing with heartbreak in the aftermath of a less than perfect relationship. Each of the EP’s seven tracks examines the complicated thoughts and feelings that come with a break-up. Mirroring the ebbs and flows of a rocky relationship, Ow presents varied sounds, and a balanced demonstration of punchy, loud moments and somber, slowed down tracks.
At its beginning, the grand track “Ow (intro)” tells us this is an EP to remember. It starts out simple with just vocals and guitars, and then blossoms with a symphony of violins, setting an emotional tone for the record.
The next two songs, “Heavy Heavy” and “Honeysuckle” are loud and punchy creating a stark contrast to “Ow (intro).” If “Ow (intro)” builds tension then “Heavy Heavy” releases it all with its enraged, loud fuzz and distorted finish. “Heavy Heavy” and “Honeysuckle” serve as tracks to release pent up rage about the emotional circumstances of this album. The heaviness is followed with “Cherry Blossom,” a track of contemplative tones.
“Again” is a moody track with bluesy feeling guitar and bass. It’s a song about reflection, second chances, and how not everyone is always deserving of another try. The emotion of this single especially hits when lead singer Mia Berrin sings at the top of her voice: “And you said this wouldn’t happen again.”
“Cut my Hair” is the penultimate track on the record and the last track with lyrics. It talks about shedding your past self and living to only satisfy yourself and not someone else. Berrin talks about cutting her hair, an impulse that many people have after a break up: the impulse to change yourself so much that your former partner no longer knows you at all. She illustrates this with the lines, “Cut my hair so I’d be pretty / Cuz I was angry at you / Cut my hair cuz I will never be pretty in the way you want me to / And maybe one day I’ll be brave/ But for now I will be only what I am”
“Owtro” closes the album the way it began with a grand orchestra of violins giving the listener a moment to breathe with Pom Pom Squad and think about what they’ve witnessed.
Relationships are difficult, especially at their conclusion, but Pom Pom Squad offers us relief by sharing their pain. They let us know as listeners that we’re not alone in our situations because they’ve been through them too.