Friday 31 March 2017

New Music: Oh Wonder - Ultralife

Today is the last day of the month, which means it’s the day when I update the Breaking More Waves monthly Spotify playlist with all of the songs featured in March's posts. You can find the new one by clicking here

It’s also the day when Oh Wonder release a new single. Hold on, what’s that? Earthquakes shake, volcanoes erupt and the world tilts on its axis, because this isn’t meant to be is it? Sure, it’s great to have new Oh Wonder material (more of which in a moment), but we all know that Anthony and Josephine, for their debut album, released a single every month at the beginning of the month. Now they’ve turned everything on its head. Are they 24 hours early, or 31 days late? This a game changer.

OK, I’m probably going a little (ok, a lot) over the top here. The reality is probably more to do with the fact that today is Friday, which is new release day across the world, and with Oh Wonder now an established band, they’re playing by a few of the established rules of the music industry. 

So what’s new single Ultralife (which they’ve been teasing the title of on Instagram for the last few days) like? We all know Oh Wonder can write a good tune. There’s 15 of them on their debut album (my favourite record of 2015). So the fact that Ultralife would be anything but was hardly in doubt. The question is more what sort of tune is it? It isn’t another Chet Faker influenced electronic pop ballad for sure. But neither is it such a radical shift that it’s unrecognisable as Oh Wonder. The trademark boy-girl vocals (although Josephine dominates, singing some on her own), keyboards and strong songcraft are all present and correct, but Ultralife has a fluttering higher energy to it than you might expect. It sounds like a carnival – the musical version of glitter, confetti canons shooting for the sky and glorious summer warmth. “I’m young forever in the sun,” Josephine coos as she sings of finding someone and emptiness turning to hope. It’s a classic feel good-pop song.

Oh Wonder have done it again. They turn the gloom into gold. 

Oh Wonder - Ultralife

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