Honest Face Records
Release Date: October 23, 2015
Some bands sound like an old friend the minute you hear them for the first time. Then they turn around and slap you with something so unexpected that it’s unforgettable. This is Oldsoul in a nutshell. Falling somewhere between early Further Seems Forever (think “New Year’s Project” done lo-fi on clean guitars) and the somber, pensive moments of the Cranberries. Then throw all that out the window. Does the description fit? Yes. Except for when it doesn’t. To fully understand what I mean, let’s dig into the mystery that is Oldschool’s Honest Face Records debut, Loverboy.
The first notes of Loverboy ring with a dreamy, ethereal pop tone that hearkens back to the 90s and artists like Jeremy Enigk or Luxury. As “Becoming Conscious Of…” moves into full swing it begins to sound like The Smiths’ Johnny Marr playing guitar for the Pet Shop Boys (minus keyboards) as led by Delores O’Riordan (the Cranberries). The overall affect is both soothing and catchy as hell. About three and a half minutes in sugary sweet lead vocals turn into an emo scream, giving power and even further depth to this track. It truly transforms the song, taking it to a level I never saw coming.
The remaining three tracks on Loverboy show that the chimaera like behavior of the opening song is not fluke, but the strength behind the Oldsoul formula. The seven minute plus “Dean Park” begins slow and textured, building dynamics as it moves toward a precipice, both musically and lyrically at about the halfway point. After falling off the edge and lulling the listener back into a safe place, the song changes directions again. It’s the constant shifts in this song that make it engaging, rather than a meandering monster on the loose. The ending of this track is a somber emo power epic. “Hurry Up, Loverboy,” an almost instrumental track, is a more upbeat affair given life by chiming guitars and punky drums. “Show Me Something New” is the shining jewel of this release, opening like an emo take on New Order’s “Regret,” and transitioning between indie pop duet verses and tense, focused choruses.
Loverboy is the sound of Oldsoul crossing genre boundaries to bring in the best elements of several styles of music. While there’s a definite 90s indie vibe, the band is not afraid to pull from punk, emo and new wave influences to build its ever-changing structures. As sang repeatedly in “Show Me Something New,” “Sorry, I keep turning into someone else.” Oldsoul reinvents whatever your definition of their sound is multiple times in each song. The impact of this album is felt long after the music fades away. It’s only a matter of time before Oldsoul leaves their mark on the music scene in a big way.
Reviewed by Jim 1340