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Album Review: Oh Wonder’s Self-Titled Debut

The UK duo behind Oh Wonder have been making waves in Europe with their unusual approach, releasing one track every month for a year on Soundcloud. It seems to have worked for them, with thousands of fans following their journey and a great deal of critical acclaim. The culmination of their “challenge” is the self-titled debut album ‘Oh Wonder’, to be released on Friday, September 4. 

Following the release of the album, they begin a string of their very first live shows, touring the UK and Europe, and then Australia in December and January. The attention they have received so far is remarkable given they haven’t played live before, but it just goes to show the power of the internet. In the UK they have topped the Hype Machine charts and have so far amassed over 6 million streams on Soundcloud.

The appeal of the duo rests in their shared lead vocals, harmonising to deliver track after track of mesmerising and chill synth pop. Their sound has a Vallis Alps vibe, with the same sparse and melodic take on synth beats.

The 15 track album is made up of their already released hits, like Technicolour Beats and Livewire and some of their new ones, including Heart Hope and Plans, which round out the confident and haunting mix that pulls at the heartstrings.

The delicate and whimsical vocals from Josephine and Anthony are reminiscent of another European male/female singing duo, Of Monsters And Men, with the same rich combination of high and low. The lightness of Josephine’s voice counters perfectly to Anthony’s deeper undertones, weaving a beautiful and captivating dynamic into each song.

Their most recognisable hit to date Drive is tucked neatly into the mix. The track is a perfect example of well-rounded song writing, rising and dipping expertly to hook you in and holing you there with the dense, orchestral use of strings. The last track on the album Plans is a perfect low-key way to round out the mix, encompassing everything Oh Wonder represent: smooth synth beats with mesmerising vocals layered over the top, creating a haunting and delicate atmosphere.

Landslide has the kind of swelling chorus that lifts you up and the addition of the horns create a lush backing sound. The heavy use of piano throughout the album creates an almost melancholy feel, injecting each song with emotion and yearning. The beautiful lightness of tracks like White Blood highlight the strength of Josephine and Anthony’s vocals, making their haunting whispers the focus.

The album is a confident and focused collection of songs. The duo know their sound back to front and inside out, and deliver exactly what their fans have been waiting for: their already-released hits placed amongst a selection of new, beautifully crafted tracks. We are expecting big things when ‘Oh Wonder’ is released this Friday in Australia.

Australian Tour Dates:

WED 30 DEC
Falls Festival. Lorne, Victoria
Falls Festival Website

THURS 31 DEC
Falls Festival. Marion Bay, Tasmania
Falls Festival Website

FRI 1 Jan
Falls Festival. Byron Bay, NSW
Falls Festival Website

SAT 9 Jan
Southbound Festival. Bovell, Western Australia
Southbound Festival Tickets

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