For almost an entire year here at VH we have been raving about Itoldyouiwouldeatyou, since the release of their debut EP and the first moment we saw them live this has been an album we’ve been looking forward. With a sense of such heavy expectation can Oh Dearism live up to the hype we have piled upon it?
In a word YES
‘Earl,King, Whatever’ sees the band continue the heartbreak of ‘Get Terrified’ with guitars and organs opening the space for emotive lyrics. As has been typical in previous releases, the emotion delicately builds throughout until almost overpowered by slick guitars and building keys. In these moments the vocals become almost frantic as emotion spills over and breaks your heart in a completely different way.
Previous single ‘Gold rush’ has the opening of a live classic, guitars almost fall in to a huge piano part which is then gently stripped back by vocals and rolling bass for the verse. In the build up to the chorus a crescendo is used with ferocity and intelligence, the guitars create a hook Andrew WK would be proud of and the piano and guitar combination is almost certainly what Frank Turner has been looking for since he added keyboards over a decade ago. Although this is an accessible single, feelings run high and there are so many nods to emo history. The vocal is at times sparse and the instruments gradually join the song in an American Football or Owls style. There is a lot to discover in this release and we are only two songs in.
As the tracks keep coming it becomes apparent how clever this song writing is, with each song flowing together with small musical similarities. In this case the warm guitar of ‘Young American’ drifts in to the outro of the predecessor and creates a seamless link between the two. This is a release that shows an incredibly detailed look at song writing with every aspect considered. The musicianship perfectly complements the vocals at all times and as an instrumental release the same emotion would be conveyed. The fact there are vocals and lyrics creates a concentration of the poignancy of every single word, these feelings are honest and considered. There is a confidence to every word that suggests there is unlikely to be a single regretful word within the assured songwriting.
The perfect British rock intro sets ‘Almost Zero’ in motion, this line could easily have started one of the many Hell Is For Heroes, Funeral for a Friend or Hundred Reasons hits. As emotional as those bands are there a higher sense of importance to every moment here, maybe it’s in the building and dropping to allow musicianship and vocals to interchange the focus that creates prominence. As the vocal develops a gravel tone it is almost impossible not to feel your way through to the end of this song.
Within the first half this is an album that clearly comes from a place of deep routed emotional honesty and matter of fact lyrics allow the band to cover some pretty heavy ground. ‘Gathering Things Together and not Dividing Them’ may be the biggest tearjerker (so far), a tale of loneliness and loss plays over delicate harmonies and strings. The simple honesty of not using the correct coping strategies is utterly heart-breaking and with the delicate vocals telling the story this is a beautifully crafted piece of music. As the conclusion is drawn the gang vocals and dueling guitars create a euphoric ending, there must be something in the idea of having to get low to get high because this is the most delightfully happy moment of the entire release.
‘Get Terrified’ is once more expertly crafted, vocals and guitar are almost playful in front of the horns which add warmth and a totally new hook to find infectious. Every wonderful aspect of the release so far accumulates into this perfect single and unsurprising standout from their previous EP. The pop sensibility crashes almost head on in to the posthardcore guitars and building walls of noise creating an iconic ending. Just previous to the beautiful collapse is a spoken word section increasing in volume to the point of a venomous snarl, this is one of the most openly political moments within the entire release and a real insight into life outside of sexual and gender norms. A really well constructed moment for reflection.
I’m sure with this in mind (because within this release everything is intricately considered) ‘craiglockhart’ tells of heartbreak and the struggle to escape your own mind. With a gradual movement between gentle bittersweet vocals and probably the most guttural moments of vocal emotion, verging on hardcore the tale progresses from love to loss. There is an utterly beautiful moment where a piano breakdown leads into deep bass and angular guitar to signal in the most perfect building of a wall of noise. There are so many sounds and aural textures piling together to create a huge feedback soaked wall of noise which somehow remains delicate as it’s gently washed away.
This feeds into the pop sensibilities of ‘Greek Fire’ which builds hooks and combines them with occasional glitches creating an alt pop sound which fits so perfectly with the infectious chorus. As guitar takes over there is a nod to both Ride and MBV shoegaze which quickly moves into math rock with rhythmic vocals that jump the sound between Hot Club De Paris and Cap N Jazz. As the guitars develop the sunshine of Surfer Blood it becomes apparent that much like the rest of the album this is a band that do not sound enough like any band to fully compare. Originality is thrown around a lot in music reviews but this time it’s undeniably true.
Proved by the final tear-jerking blow, ‘Goodbye to All That’ which in the form of a fable tells the start to finish story of a relationship both precise and incredibly detailed. Everything about this tale oozes magic, with a gentle spoken vocal the entire song is delicate and emotive. Musically the emotion of the words is followed effortlessly, guitars are both gentle and angular, the drums drive the whole thing without imposing and the keys and everything moulds together without ever overpowering the delicate vocal once more this is expertly crafted song writing.
It would be almost impossible to pick an album from 2018 as a favourite but this has to be a consideration. This is an utterly wonderful example of socially conscious song writing, expansive musicianship and incredible song writing and composition. You might just be reading about the next big thing, I really hope that you are!