I have to admit I was nervous when I saw Ogbert the Nerd promoting exciting news to be delivered on Halloween with a classic “trick or treat” sign. Sure it seemed innocent enough, but the New Jersey four-piece seemed like just the kind of scoundrels who might give out a treat that ends up being a trick nonetheless. Was this announcement really gonna be the long anticipated first single to a soon to be released album or was this gonna be another t-shirt??? I was so rapt with nervous anticipation on Mischief Night that I couldn’t fall asleep, which ended up working in my favor when the band dropped their new single “Do It for Elio” right at midnight. No razors in the apple here.
The track was originally called “Angela’s Pizza” named after a pizza joint around the corner from an old Ogbert practice space before the band renamed it “Elio’s Pizza” in honor of their friend Elio from the band Gambo. It held that moniker for some time, with Ogbert playing it under that name at pre-COVID live shows and even a few early COVID livestreams, including their set Live from Minecraft at Flea Collar Fest where I first heard the track. The newly christened “Do It for Elio” is the cleanest and best recorded version of the track which luckily doesn’t take away from the jagged charm of the live versions. Ogbert often gets compared to early 2010s emo legends Snowing both because of the music they make and how that music makes people feel. Both bands make music that sounds like they took a tight pop song, flipped it on its head, and are now hiding it under a hundred layers of punk fuzz and emo screaming, all tied together with gut wrenchingly personal lyrics. Opening “Do It for Elio” with an All-American riff and the first of what proved to be an endless stream of quotable lyrics, Ogbert draws you not just into the track but the scene the song is painting right out the gate. A lot happens in “your” (or whoever they’re singing to’s) driveway on this track, starting with a tender kiss, the remembrance of suppressed memories, and ultimately ending with getting sick, as lead singer Madison laments how while they always have the right words to say, sometimes the words just don’t leave their mouth. It’s an interesting point, how even if you have the right words in your head what really matters is whether you can get yourself to communicate those feelings to the people who need to hear them, with the sickness almost being the physical manifestation of that inability to communicate how you feel. And it’s all happening in the driveway, right outside where you really want to be, but also near the comfort of your car where you can leave at a moment’s notice. I hate reading too much into music tryna draw meetings that might not be there but I did love how well the location of the track and what it represents matched the song’s emotional tenor. “Do It for Elio” is an absolute ripper that despite its themes of miscommunication is a perfect display of exactly what Ogbert does so well.
“Do It for Elio” is the first single off of Ogbert’s Suneater Records debut I Don’t Hate You due out December 11th and is only the fourth song the band has ever released. They’ve been able to build up a decent following given their limited output partially on the back of their hilarious social media presence, but mostly because the tracks they have released all fucking shred in a way unlike anyone else making music in DIY right now. Ogbert has garnered stylistic comparisons to legends like Algernon Cadwallader and Snowing not just because of how they sound but because of how they make people feel. We can only hope that unlike those two, Ogbert the Nerd will be putting a lump in our throats and making our hearts flutter for many years to come.