gobbinjr, “ocala wick”

gobbinjr
ocala wick
TOPSHELF
7/10

Emma Witmer quietly introduced herself to those who were listening back in 2015 with manalang, a debut as memorable for its playful tone and low-key barbarous lyrics as it was for its dismissal of the Caps Lock key. It set a reliable precedent for future releases under the gobbinjr moniker, which have so far only included 2016’s partitioned-bedroom pop of the vom night EP and 2017’s two-track, one-minute ode to the most recently kiboshed Shea Stadium venue. Witmer also capped off 2016 by contributing a single called “relax ur jaw” to Post-Trash’s annual year-end comp, an unusually tranquil mantra uncharacteristic of the anxieties plaguing her prior output.

Despite this glimmer of hope, ocala wick (no evident relation to John) dives headfirst into a certain smoke-induced paranoia, initiated in Witmer’s opening monologue over acoustic strums on “afraid of me” (“I’m going to work high / I’m sitting at work high” is, one can assume, what everyone who goes to work high sings all day) and culminating in “joaquin”’s windy pleas to be left alone. But behind such moments of timidity lurks a menacing DGAF attitude suggesting Witmer’s role as the oppressive watermelon in her “fake bitch” video, where she bullies an avocado through romantic slow fades and candlelight impositions. “I think it’s about time / For you to show your face / To everyone you betray,” Witmer’s Citrullusian spirit of vengeance taunts at the end of a pop-song-length callout.

Lyrically, ocala wick (total nonsense? anagram for “I lack a cow”?) shows no complicity in a phallocentric social order (crucially, “I felt you press your dick against my thigh when we hugged / I didn’t ask for it”); musically, the album exhibits Witmer’s growth from glo-fi recordings to the full-on Fraggle Rock aesthetic implied by its cover art, supported by the simulated calliope of “november 163,” the childish name-calling of “zitty mcgee,” and the lullaby charm of “friends.” In fact, the simplified delivery and parabolic content of each track also echoes the empathetic values of that profoundly weird Muppets spinoff about biological incompatibility, positioning ocala wick not only as one of the year’s most original releases, but also as one of 2018’s most accessible tutorials on treating females with the slightest modicum of respect. 

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