Oscar – Cut and Paste
In a time of political uncertainty, the debut album from Oscar, (his full name and surname Scheller presumably only used by his mum when he’s been naughty) reminds the world what it is to be British: poppy, hopeful and eccentric, shot through at all times with a tuneful, grounding melancholy and serious musical nous.
With the planets aligning for a perfectly timed release off the back of an unexpected British heatwave, Cut and Paste really does feel like the soundtrack to summer with its hazy guitar riffs, percussive beats and 90s britpop and hip-hop influences. It plays like an album that would be equally at home in a live, sweaty context as emanating from someone’s speakers in a sun-soaked park with friends.
As an album, Cut and Paste is paced well, switching from the punchy, scene-setting synth anthem of an opener Sometimes straight into the jaunty, off-beat and undeniably summery mix of Be Good and Feel It Too, before transitioning gently through feel-good sing-a-long Good Things to the moodier and majestic Fifteen, its stripped-back verses and soaring choruses perfectly capturing the agony and ecstasy of those first flushes of love. Meanwhile Breaking My Phone conveys the exasperated, guitar-filled poppy rage of dealing with unreliable lovers, while the life-affirming Daffodil Days and the off-kilter drums and synth interjections of Beautiful Words gently lead through to the 80s dream world of closer Gone Forever with its calming, lazy, almost solipsistic beat and jangly, lullaby-esque glockenspiel providing the perfect end to an undeniably strong debut album. Bonus points must also be given for the latter and its beautifully fleeting air of what one could only imagine a Morrissey cover of Lady in Red would sound like nestling as an Easter egg in the opening chords.
Cut and Paste cements Oscar’s status as a purveyor of the kind of song structure and soaring, lyrical chorus lines that has you waiting for the indie, synth-pop drop, with an often Morrissey-baritone (a comparison that is perhaps even more often documented) that manages to expertly tread the line of morose and hopeful without ever being needy. It is undeniably a glorious grower of an album that warrants more than one listen, and deserves to be played, heard and above all enjoyed, loud; actual sunshine optional.
Photo: Bella Howard
Cut and Paste is released on 13th May 2016, for further information or to order the album visit here.
Watch the video for Good Things here: