‘Love in the Time of Lexapro’ expands the sonic palette of Oneohtrix Point Never to sounds more tranquil and human, James Rodker reviews

Written by James Rodker
Last updated
Images by Warp Records

Floating, embryonic, through a soft, digital blur of a soundscape, permeated by distant heartbeats and soaked in the gentle roar of radio static, you enter Oneohtrix Point Never’s Love in the Time of Lexapro. Before you can get too comfortable, however, you are ripped away and dragged under. The title track descends into sparse, echoey bass drums smothered by a warming, almost 8-bit synth line that builds for the duration of the track. It is a soothing respite from the twitchy nail bomb hurricane that was Age Of, the Oneohtrix album from earlier in the year that this EP, and a previous released in July, attempt to build on and stretch into new realms.

Before you can get too comfortable, you are ripped away and dragged under

The next track is a Ryuichi Sakamoto rework of the album’s ‘Last Known Image of a Song’. It takes the already pretty creepy original and twists it into a spider web of haunted clockwork music boxes and broken wind-up toys writhing on the floor. There are gasps of the original that break through for a few bars before dissolving and leaving behind the starker Sakamoto version, seeming all the emptier for it. There isn’t too much of a departure from this to the next track, ‘Thank God I’m a Country Girl’, a swarm of skimming reverberations latching on to each other and dissipating in nervous agitation.

‘Babylon’ takes any sense of unity or direction offered by the first three tracks and discards it. It is a step outside into the autumn breeze; a touching acoustic perspective from (Sandy) Alex G of a track from the album which dripped with melodramatic autotune. The two Babylons sound nothing alike. Sandy’s version is somehow at once refreshing and comforting, hearing just guitar and voice after all that murky ambience hits as soft as daybreak. The only touch of Oneohtrix to this final track is a hidden string section that surfaces in the last moments, but this really does feel like the track belongs to (Sandy) Alex G, delivered with such a human tenderness as to make you forget the depths from which your journey started.

‘Love in the Time of Lexapro’ is available now via Warp Records.