News Column

Detroit Free Press Rachel May column

September 25, 2013


Sept. 25--Electro-pop band Otto Vector is getting a little bit heavier on its latest disc.

But the band hasn't abandoned the synth-driven '80s sound that has earned the Detroit group plenty of national notice.

On Friday, the female-fronted quintet will roll out its latest CD with a party at the Magic Bag in Ferndale.

The band formed about 10 years ago and has recorded several EPs and full-length discs, making its latest effort, "No. 9 North," the sixth official release. "It's got so much more personality than a lot of our previous albums," says keyboardist Mike Glaser. "It's more organic. There's a lot more usage of guitar and drums."

The guitars definitely give the music a heavier edge -- without distracting too much from the group's electro-pop sound. The songs are big and full of hook-laden choruses. They're smart without being overthought.

"A lot of the songs are about real life, living in Detroit and being in a band," Glaser says. "I think lyrically and musically, it's together."

The disc was recorded with noted metro Detroit engineer-producer Chuck Alkazian at Pearl Sound Studios in Canton. It's the third time the group turned to Alkazian to record. "We really tuned the band into how Chuck's studio works," Glaser says.

Alkazian compares the band to '80s new-wave pop stars Missing Persons and Duran Duran. "I've enjoyed working with Otto Vector," he says. "They are the sum of old-school new wave and modern recording sensibilities. Takes me back to the exciting times in music when people took sonic chances but still achieved simplicity."

The group's sound is not only catching on locally. Otto Vector has had song placements on various MTV shows, was a three-time top five finalist in MTVU's Best Music on Campus, and won band of the year and best album on "There's no way to get around from working hard and pushing yourself," Glaser says.

Along with Glaser, the band features Andrew Lemanek (guitars, keys), Renee Miller (lyricist and vocalist), Dan Lee (bass) and William Daviddi (drums).

Doors at 8 p.m. Friday, 22920 Woodward, Ferndale. 248-544-3030. $8. Opening are Half Light Music and the Bronze Way.

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