In a brave (but somewhat business savvy) move, south-east London duo Oh Wonder have been releasing a new single on Soundcloud every month for the past year, with the aim of drumming up enough interest to kick off their debut tour this September. That interest has certainly peaked, having topped the Hype Machine chart with each single and already selling out their first-ever London shows ahead of the album release, with extra dates being added to accommodate the eager crowds.
Now gathered together, their self-titled, self-produced debut album is fifteen tracks of pure easy-listening gold. Not a pair to make things complicated for themselves, Oh Wonder keeps it simple with a combination of chilled out electronic beats, keys and emotive lyrics. With the majority of tracks touching on love and loneliness, the main focus here is on the poignant songwriting; showcased best in the haunting ‘White Blood’ and ‘All We Do’, with Anthony’s whispering vocals providing the perfect accompaniment to Josephine’s unique resounding voice.
In its more upbeat moments, ‘Midnight Moon’ and ‘Drive’ provide a pop injection to liven things up a little, showing off the duo’s keen ear for production and real thought that has gone into arranging each atmospheric build-up and melodic crescendo. The piano-heavy ‘Without You’ and ‘Livewire’ are also stellar, promising to be crowd pleasures at the duo’s live shows.
Closing track ‘Plans’ could well be a love letter to the fans, thanking them for following them on their journey and promising that after all of this time, they’ll be able to share their lovingly crafted record with the world in full, in the flesh. In a way it makes this business model quite refreshing, as the end product is a touching tale of a year’s worth of love and life, which has been unfolding in real time in front of us. Packed full of impressively composed electronic ballads, it looks like Oh Wonder’s risky decision paid off and they’ve truly earned their time in the limelight.
Oh Wonder is out on the 4th September through Caroline International.