O & The Mo: In Transit

November 23, 2020

Wellington/Tasman based indie duo O & The Mo have released their debut album ‘In Transit’.

Coming off the back of two single releases, the songwriting duo O & The Mo, consisting of Alvin Bartley and Olivia Gallagher, have delivered their debut album ‘In Transit.’ There is a lot of heart and personality to the album. ‘In Transit’ is about stopping after being in a constant state of motion. It is a coming of age, light-hearted critique on 21st-century living, full of emotion, playfulness, and nostalgia. 

Opening track ‘Take Off’ sets the tone for the album. With Pink Floyd-Esq ambience in the reverb-drenched vocal and guitar tracks, the song then transitions into a funky groove guitar piece before fading out. 

Single ‘Overtired’ again has the reverb-soaked vocals that are used throughout the album. ‘Overtired’ is a good demonstration of the duo’s capability to write strong vocal hooks. Lyrically, the song is also relatable: ‘Nothing makes sense when you’re overtired. Go to sleep.’

Single ‘Pistachio Moon’ charted at number 19 in the Official New Zealand Music Chart for Hot New Singles. The guitar work on the single is fantastic with Bartley playing a series of captivating lead licks over Gallagher’s beautifully clean rhythm guitar. 

Vocalist Olivia Gallagher has a unique voice and a soothing vocal style. Alvin Bartley provides backup and vocals and their voices blend perfectly. The reverb-drenched vocal effects bring a sense of calmness to the songs and make ‘In Transit’ a unique listening experience. 

O & The Mo began the recording process for ‘In Transit’ during the lockdown. And the album reflects that. Very much a product of the uncertainty of the period O & The Mo found calmness in reflection and critique of the modern world. In speaking on the album the pair have said: ‘We recorded and produced the album over a focused period of three months, which gave us an opportunity to immerse ourselves in the recording process, capture our environment, and refine our sound. For us, the album is a reflection on the constant state of motion, with a common thread through these songs being to slow down, find calmness, and act on your values.’ 

‘New Lullabies’ is another fantastic song. The vocal performances are fantastic and once again we are presented captivating guitar performance. ‘Thicker Skin’ is an acoustic track that uses nature noises as a kind of background ambience. The song captures the aesthetic of the recording environment they were in as the duo self-produced and engineered the album in an earth cottage in the remote Delaware Bay in Nelson where they were out of cell phone reception for three months. Thicker Skin is a fun, soothing song that leads into the final track ‘Good Night’ which is the perfect end to the album. ‘Good Night’ opens with the sound of rain on the roof before an acoustic guitar blissfully sings the listener to sleep with faint echoes of ‘goodnight,’ ‘sleep tight,’ ‘goodbye,’ and ‘see you next time’ can be heard lower in the mix.

‘In Transit’ is a strong collection of songs from the outfit. There is a sense of calmness to the album which brings a sense of warmth to the record. Being a product of lockdown Bartley and Gallagher worked remotely with bassist Hugo-Olsen Smith and drummer Josh Brown. ‘In Transit’ is a fantastic debut and is one that is worth checking out. 

Ho & The Mo will be embarking on a 12-date nationwide tour of Aotearoa this December and January.

You can listen to the album here: 

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