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Oh No Oh My: People Problems

Five years after its twee-riffic debut, Oh No Oh My tries to shake the “cute” tag as cutely as possible on the cutely titled People Problems. Promising more mature, dark, and ambitious material after the long LP gap, the group can’t deliver any of it without a wink and half-smile, making the record a mess of contradictions. Yes, there’s deeper and more somber content here, but it’s hard to take seriously when coupled with a goofy marketing gimmick in which fans can call the band members directly to discuss their personal problems. Amid so much playfulness, attempts at sobriety and contemplation feel forced and ultimately false; nowhere is this better exemplified than on “So I Took You,” a charmingly pleasant, romantic acoustic number that abruptly ends when the narrator is revealed to be a knife-wielding murderer. When Oh No Oh My is “dark,” it’s in service of a punchline, which would be fine if it didn’t seem meant to be taken otherwise. That said, there are some unquestionably catchy tracks, like the polished “You Were Right,” delivered with rhythmic clarity and pulsing energy. Intricate string arrangements give complexity to the band’s sound, and there are moments of genuine subtlety. But when People Problems tries to be both fun and affecting, it’s far sillier than when the group actually meant to be silly.


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