Oliver Wilde: A Brief Introduction To Unnatural Lightyears (Howling Owl)
The debut album by Oliver Wilde has been described by his record label as “your new favourite record”. Louder Than War’s Paul Scott-Bates tests the statement.
So, what do I know about Oliver Wilde? Well, he’s not related to Oscar, I don’t think, and, er, that’s about it. Oh, and he’s just released a rather splendid album with an even more splendid title. Having no preconceptions about an artist can help, and that’s very much the case with A Brief Introduction To Unnatural Lightyears.
Oliver has created an album of complete and utter deliciousness and it’s a lovely way for newish label Howling Owl to celebrate their first “long player” album release.
With influences from the likes of Nick Drake and Elliott Smith, it’s hardly surprising that Wilde’s sound should be one of calm and feeling. With a voice like a lower toned Badly Drawn Boy, his songs float in and out and around your head and take you to a place that your dreams can only imagine. His unconventional style and often introspective approach to songwriting and presentation will only win him admirers, and, many they well be.
Lead single, Perrett’s Brook, accompanied by its somewhat strange and effecting video is rather lovely. It’s swirling electronics and melancholic guitars perfectly compliment the whispering vocals which is so delicate it feels as though it could break into a million pieces at the slightest mis-timed breath.
There’s a simply sumptuous guitar on Pinch as Wilde continues to deliver his woozy, fuzzy vocals over even more dreamlike backing, and the trip through ‘the unnatural lightyears’ of the album’s title just keeps on going. The pace is increased on Walter Steven’s Only Daughter with a beat that is present but not overwhelming and that has a great hook.
The instrumentation to Marleahs Cadence has New Order (under) tones with a beat and driving bassline that pushes the song forward with intriguing vocals. It’s probably the catchiest song on the album but that doesn’t make picking a standout track any easier, such is the quality of the tracks here.
Wiltshire can be very proud.
All words by Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found here. Paul’s website is hiapop Blog. Paul is working hard to save Radio Lancashire’s On The Wire, the BBCs longest running alternative music programme. Follow him on twitter as @saveonthewire for all On The Wire news or follow hiapop Blog on Twitter, @hiapop.