17 May, 2016, 18:30
Oscar could be just another art school hipster. His video for ‘Sometimes’ displays an elderly Lawn Bowling Club, as if to say “Old people! Ha. They’re like, so vintage.” But in one staggering drum line, you immediately fall for the pulsating rhythm of this opening track, and via songs of nostalgic dandiness, are led to some truly powerful pieces.
‘Sometimes’ from his debut album Cut and Paste demands you dance around and feel bohemian (“like you”). Fitting with Oscar’s drone, “pick me up and let me go”, off the cuff cymbal beats are cockily caught right before the edge. Buzzing synth drives the track forward, sliced by riot grrrl sing-along vocals; just the right side of annoying.
This soaring uplift returns with ‘Beautiful Words’, while the bulk of Cut and Paste balances dazed summers with quiet regret. Marika Hackman, master of brooding vocals over buoyant tunes, is a perfect collaborator on ‘Only Friend’. While ‘Be Good’ sees a smoky Latin infusion, smoothly oscillate with a video game chorus. The album does slump though. ‘Good Things’ flatly boasts try hard minimalist verses and a chorus that sounds like a drug addicts Christmas carol.
Oscar’s brilliance re-emerges in ‘Breaking my Phone’. A sulky grunge, reducing his unrequited love to a fracturing, factual denial of his need for sympathy. While a harmonising choir and his distant megaphoned voice is enough to keep any Gorillaz fan enthralled.
Following this angst, ‘Daffodil Days’ comes in like soft milk, bursting open in a strong catastrophic release. With repeated “ah ahs” emerging throughout, a gentle permanence holds you through a feeling of inevitable loss.
It is in these tracks that you see Oscar’s true talent. The raw emotion in these songs grip him above the splurge of disappointed unattainable dreams, and ground him in mature human emotion. He goes far beyond a fun, fashionable hipster, and appears as a talented artist able to capture complex human emotion in catchy summer tunes.
Cut and Paste is out now via Wichita Recordings.