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Oliver Wilde - Red Tide Opal In The Loose End Womb

Nothing short of fascinating.

There’s only one man right now that can successfully open an album with a soaring orchestral number before jumping into woozy avant-pop, and that man is Oliver Wilde. Following up last year’s ‘An Introduction into Unnatural Lightyears’, Ollie’s back with the just as awkwardly named ‘Red Tide Opal In The Loose End Womb’, and the songs are just as hypnotically mesmerising as those album titles are baffling.

Known for his so-called ‘downer pop’, Wilde isn’t exactly demonstrating the same vulnerability on Red Tide as he did on ‘An Introduction…’. Sure, his vocals are still his signature drawl - for the unacquainted, Wilde sports a croon that’s buried so deeply underneath the richness of his music that he almost has to come up for air over it all. But what sets ‘Red Tide…’ apart from its predecessor is just how much more exuberant it is, and considering just how diverse and intriguing ‘An Introduction…’ was in the first place, that’s a fucking grand achievement.

You could start with any track on ‘Red Tide…’ and instantly find yourself transported by Wilde’s ethereal dream worlds. Each track is like its own individual universe conjured up by Wilde’s, ahem, wild mind; each with its own avant-garde schtick that demands you peel it apart each more with every listen. ‘Say Yes to Ewans’ is Wilde’s most subconsciously angry track to date, channeling an aggressiveness in its sharp wailing that Wilde hasn’t explored previously. It’s exciting to hear him play around with the idea of punk, and as this is Oliver Wilde, the end result is nothing short of fascinating. Lead single ‘Stomach Full of Cats’ on the other hand is staple oddball pop, whirling and hissing like a supernatural concoction brewed personally by Wilde for Ariel Pink.

The irony is that while Wilde continues to demonstrate his abilities as a songwriter - the intricately composed percussion, the orchestral chamber pop qualities, and even the avant-gardisms - ‘Red Tide…’ lacks the cohesiveness and hooks that a songwriter so bent on making pop music - no matter how off-kilter it is - should most definitely pack. It’s a sprawling album, and at almost an hour long, it’s hard not to lose patience with the moments Wilde gets inwardly experimental, such as on the stoned and directionless ‘Plume’. What Red Tide collects is twelve tracks of a songwriter getting comfortable with his sound, and all Wilde needs now is a huge studio budget that’ll allow him to bring his bold and daring visions to life.

Tags: Oliver Wilde, Reviews, Album Reviews

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