Oscar, who apparently thinks he has the cultural weight to be known only by his first name, has a family history of music-making, and this shows in his obviously capable song-craft. Beautiful Words builds itself up around Oscar’s baritone vocals, with lots of big drums and synth melodies. Mini LP (so an EP?) on Wichita.
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- Beautiful Words by Oscar
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Oscar made me realise that people who sing in baritones are capable of enjoying the beach. On ‘Beautiful Words’, he’s soaking in sunshine, whistling in praise of the outdoors and throwing programmed beats down because who the fuck cares -- but he’s also singing like a triforce made up of Morrissey, Stephin Merritt and the lead singer from Adult Jazz. With a booming and rarely forced vocal he leads us through a bombastic paradise.
‘Beautiful Words’ proves Oscar a versatile songwriter and an ever-interested devourer of music: “Daffodil Focus” is upended with icy guitar riffs a la the Smiths but explodes into a thrashing pop tune for the Radio 1 crew. The record’s title track is a synth-smacked anthem that glitches and glistens like a Bastille song at a festival’s midday turning point. He’s a great pop architect, that’s for sure, phasing his production in and out to seamlessly weave the slickness of his verses with the boldness of his choruses in “Forget Me Not” (which is chock full of, and I’m sorry for deigning to say this to y’all, Beach Boys harmonies). They aren’t necessarily going to grab at your heart, these songs, but they’re admirably well put together.
Oscar’s best when whimsy and cheek are ordered, but occasionally his tunes get slyer, as on the quasi-ominous “Told Me So”, which sounds like one of those I’ve-got-your-number Milburn songs amped up with way over loud drums and bleeding chords. In these moments, though, Oscar’s songs roll by seamlessly; I’m not waiting around for them to end, but rather seeing potential in a songwriter with something more interesting to say down the line.
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