Live Review

Oscar, Shacklewell Arms, London

18th September 2014

There’s a reason why his form of all-smiles pop is going places.

If proof was ever needed that Oscar’s still in his early days, it’s in a disappointed declaration at the end of his Shacklewell Arms show that an encore isn’t possible because “we don’t have a drummer.” They shuffle off stage, the chorus of whoops barely expressing any disappointment. Everything showcased up to this point is dependent on straight-down-the-line machine patterns, the kind lifted from a Super Mario soundtrack or a programmed beats ‘introduction to rhythms’ package. God knows where he gets them from, but these drums are Oscar all over - playful, simple, but deadly in execution. There’s a reason why his form of all-smiles pop is going places.

For one half of tonight’s set, the six-foot-tall crooner is joined by a female vocalist - for the second half, it’s down to a trio, combining to produce slinky baselines and synth patterns that sear the conscience.

Leading it all is the kind of baritone vocal that could go anywhere; on talent shows; opening a brass band night - fuck it, Oscar would make a great train conductor. But instead, he’s chosen to apply this voice to immediate, deadly pop music, the kind made out of cheap and cheerful parts, like stacking lego for kicks.

It’s showcased best in ‘Sometime’, a track that dates back a few months but sounds positively destined to define 2015. Not a single song progresses past thirty seconds without reaching a snapping chorus, and Oscar oversees it all with a cheeky grin, as if he knows just how shamelessly effective his songwriting happens to be. Early days indeed - it’s difficult to guess as to when this London talent will take over, but it’s only a matter of time.

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