Somehow Oh Wonder managed to slip by my net of worthy new artists. I had no knowledge of their marketing technique of releasing a new song each month for one year via SoundCloud. Through my ignorance, the London duo Josephine Vander Gucht and Anthony West have now sold out shows worldwide, have over 2 million plays on SoundCloud and have released their debut album. It goes without saying that I am disappointed in myself, however, nonetheless this feeling is overruled by my new found love for them since my discovery.
Listening to their debut self-titled album, the introductory track Livewire brings up a memory for me. Somewhere in the back of my head I recall being moved by the melody. I still to this day have no idea where I know it from but it definitely came from somewhere. For those who have not heard of Oh Wonder yet, this is the track I would make them listen to. This track as the first upon the album sets the mood perfectly. You know exactly what you are in for throughout the rest of the album; a relaxed, tranquil electric music collection with soft harmonic vocals accompanied by subdued beats. At soon as it hits the first harmony, you hear just how well Vander Gucht’s and West’s voices work together, blending seamlessly.
Each song thereafter has the same magical quality to it. Vander Gucht’s soprano voice and West’s alto voice mesh perfectly, and with the minimal instrumental behind them this allows for the spotlight to be on the vocal talent, something that is forgotten in modern music.
Songs such as All We Do and Heart Hope strips back the electronic beats and replace them with a soft piano for vocal accompaniment, with some occasional percussion. The change in sound is something I like within an album, however this may not sit well with others.
While most of the songs upon the album are more towards the somber side of the spectrum, there are some real electronic-pop ballads amongst them. The band is successful in creating their musical consolations and combing them with their heartfelt and meaningful lyrics which seems to be a rarity in modern pop music.
Songs such as Landslide, Drive, and of course Livewire standout on the album for me and relate to the electro-pop genre. Within these songs, there is a lot more energy and the group’s vocals are stronger.
The London based duo have a cracker of a debut album here and well worth a listen.