They’re only in their early twenties, but mulit-instrumentalists and songwriters Olivia ‘Liv’ Hally and Pepita ‘Pep’ Emmerichs are already being hailed as Australia’s next great folk duo. Through their shared project Oh Pep!, the twosome have already released two EPs and won a handful of awards Down Under, including awarded Young Folk Performer of the Year by The Age Music Victoria in 2014. To classify them solely as a folk duo, however, would be a disservice to their creativity and immense talents. Their music is expansive, as they integrate pop, bluegrass, and roots into the folk foundation. The result is a sound that titillates at times or leaves one breathless.
Their third EP, Living, exemplifies Oh Pep!’s music and the maturation and growth of Hally and Emmerichs, who continue to move towards crafting more cinematic songs to match their great songwriting. On Living, they display the deftness of seasoned artists in building suspense and drama in each of their songs that draws you further and further in. As a result, you become lost in the stories of Oh Pep!, whether it’s the tortoise-and-hair love ditty that is “The Race”, the reconciliation of the euphoric “Rest Assured”, or the quick wordplay that characterizes “War Song”, a song of departures and goodbyes.
“Tea, Milk, and Honey” differs from the first three singles. It’s a much more reserved and haunting song, yet still incredibly stunning and arguably the EP’s most gorgeous track. From it’s timid, minimalist beginning to the breathtaking finale, the song could stand side-by-side with Angel Olsen’s best for its power and assertiveness and right next with Sharon Van Etten for its confident, introspective songwriting. And like these two great artists, Oh Pep! have written a song that will bowl you over and over and over again.
It’s easy to understand why music writers, bloggers, and fans in Australia are gravitating to Oh Pep!. With Living, Oh Pep! have written an album that will have more people exulting their exploits, even if the EP is just four songs. These four songs, though, pack the emotional power of a full LP, which shows the immense talents of Hally and Emmerichs.
Living is out now via Star House Collective. Get it at the label’s Bandcamp store, iTunes, Amazon, and eMusic. Oh Pep! are also heading out on tour in North America, playing a handful of shows including some private house shows. If you can get a ticket to those gigs, you should because Oh Pep! won’t be playing such intimate shows in the future. Check their website and Facebook page for their upcoming shows, and they’ll be adding more.
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