Review: Oh Wonder – ‘Ultralife’

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Oh Wonder shows a brand new energy and optimism not yet experienced by its fans.

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After almost two years, Oh Wonder‘s return comes with a song just as colourful and exciting as the artwork that came with it. The title track to Ultralife, due June 16th, is the first new material from the alt-pop duo of Josephine Vander Gucht and Anthony West since their September 2015 self-titled debut.

Their music, whilst not the floor-filling pop songs that dominate mainstream charts, has consistently been evocative of many emotions through their ethereal and haunting sounds as well as their poetic and refreshing lyrics. As an Oh Wonder fan that has yearned for new material ever since the band first teased production of their second album on social media, ‘Ultralife’ pleasantly surprised me, but showed little change in terms of their sound, and so was not an astonishing first taste. However, whilst it does not break much new ground in terms of their style, it is clear from the first line that Oh Wonder’s music is about to transition from melancholic, lovesick ballads into a world of optimism and happiness – they definitely have “never been here before.”

“I’m young forever in the sun,” a chorus lyric, is a defining line that encapsulates the tone of the song: a vibrant and summery tune with a catchy chorus and a beat that will have you nodding along instantly. It is as intriguing as it is enjoyable, and as the first stop in the journey of Oh Wonder’s next venture it leaves curiosity and eagerness to see where they take this new direction. A second record must have its own identity rather than simply extending the first, and ‘Ultralife’ indicates their sophomore album will stick to some core elements that defined their sound last time around. Oh Wonder is back with a vengeance, flaunting a newfound energy, positivity, and confidence for a certainly new and refreshing adventure.

‘Ultralife’ is out now via Island

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