Ohmme is the love story of two voices, as Chicago as deep dish, destined to exist together. Sima Cunningham and Macie Stewart are classically trained musicians with extensive but wholesome industry connections that make Chicago seem like a small town. Stewart played with Vic Mensa in their high school band, she sang with Cunningham on Chance the Rapper’s Coloring Book and Surf, and Cunningham supplied supporting vocals for Jeff Tweedy on his tour. Ohmme began after the two singer’s mutual admiration lead to the pair joining forces. They released a self titled EP in 2017 and go on to have Noisey call them “the heart of Chicago’s music community.”
Ohmme switches to Joyful Noise Recordings for this project, Parts, and adds in drummer Matt Carroll. Cunningham told Interview Magazine, “Matt, let us open up a little bit further, because even though we could really get into outer space when it was just the two of us—two guitars, no rhythm—Matt is a really sensitive player and also a very lyrical player. He’s a drummer that listens to vocalists and really loves vocals, so he’s able to be flexible in the way that the human voice is, versus just being a rhythm player.” Carroll provides a framework for Cunningham and Stewart to really express themselves. The real highlights on this album are still the ways the vocal parts are blended. The poppy, immediate draw of “Icons,” the crystalline bond found on “Parts,” and the glasslike connection on “Sentient Beings” are all-captivating.
The virtuosic level of talent all three players possess is evident on this project as the trio is able to confidently bounce around a variety of sounds effectively. Ohmme provide a real surprise in its inclusion of “Water” and “Peach.” Both work in power chords, feedback, and a repurposed metal motif chorus in “Water’s” case. There is also material here that fantastically transitions from the two modes Ohmme works through in “Peach’s” feedback transitioning to violin in the beginning of “Sentient Beings” and the fuzzy guitar riffs on “Grandmother.”
Ohmme are some of the real standout figures in a thriving Chicago scene right now and this is another reason why they are regarded as such. Look for them in the future not only as Ohmme, but as collaborators.