Rock has laid dormant for most of the 2000s with pop and hip-hop taking hold of the air waves. Recently, as the internet and streaming services have allowed music listeners to diversify their music tastes and find local artists, the music scene has exploded, and smaller bands have gotten much needed exposure. There is no better time for this online exposure than a pandemic where most live music has been shut down. Origami Button is one such band that took advantage of the pandemic free time and crafted their latest album, No Parking.
Origami Button was formed by five musicians who met up while at Columbia College in Chicago. They don’t shy away from their Chicago roots, prominently featuring art based on Chicago’s landscape on the cover of their first album Button Season and had been performing live shows in Chicago before the pandemic. They’re labeled as an alternative rock band but refer to their genre of music as “math rock for people who don’t like math rock”. This assessment is very fair when you begin to listen to their music.
Math rock is a loose term often used to describe indie rock music with atypical and changing time signatures and drawn out or hypnotic sections. While Origami Button’s music fits those characteristics, it also breaks away from math rock with a bouncier and pop sound. This gives the band more room to work with, allowing for fast, hard-hitting songs like “Rot” and slower, soulful songs like “Nervous”. The complex instrumentation and song structure add layers to the already busy sound.
The band’s two greatest strengths, funky basslines and great vocals, are put on full display here. “Peach” pulls you in from the beginning and keeps you interested throughout the song with the evolving instrumental and impressive vocal range from lead singer Carter Jones, whose voice elevates some of the songs from good to great. “Stag” is beauty in chaos with changes in tempo and mood throughout. Jones and the band almost sound like they are performing two different songs on top of each other as he sings much slower than the guitar and drums would indicate he should. But that is what makes the song sound so special.
Origami Button still has much to do as this is only their second album and live concerts are still on hold. For what they already have, they’re a fantastic alt rock band and I’m honestly surprised they haven’t found a larger following. When they can perform live again, I’m sure they’ll grow a bigger fanbase.