Album Review: Oscar – Cut and Paste

By on Tuesday, 7th June 2016 at 12:00 pm
 

Creativity runs in Oscar Scheller’s blood: both of his parents were musicians and encouraged his musical pursuits from a young age. Classically trained, Scheller was first taught piano, then to sing. It’s perhaps no surprise that he’s ended up writing and recording his own music considering his immersion in creativity from such a young age. Add to this, a range of influences including non other than Missy Eliot, and an interesting image of Scheller starts to form. ‘Cut and Paste’ is Oscar’s debut album, which was released in the middle of last month on Wichita Recordings. Prior to the album’s release, Oscar released three singles that appear on the album, ‘Breaking My Phone’, ‘Sometimes’ and ‘Good Things’.

‘Cut and Paste’ is a rich tapestry of bright melodies, catchy guitar hooks and vulnerable yet playful lyrics, with just a touch of melancholy in the softer moments. The subject matter of many of the songs is simplistic in nature, but speak of ordinary experiences that anyone can relate to. This is a collection of 10 songs dealing with all manner emotions and feelings, against the backdrop of a glistening guitar and subtle synth aura. Really, it’s a radiant, shimmering indie pop piece of work in its own right, and feels like it would be a fitting soundtrack to a kooky, playful film. It’s definitely going to be the soundtrack to my summer.

‘Sometimes’ opens the album, a bright, playful song that demands to be heard. The whirring guitar hooks and measured cacophony of sound that bursts out after the first few moments echoes Britpop giants Blur. The lyrics are simple and sweet, such as “I was always bad at sports / I won’t play your game”, but with knowing hints, like “always when you’re in my room / I know the things I wanna do”. Scheller’s baritone deeply resonates, yet is crisp and bright. Occasionally I’m reminded of Morrissey, and other times of Ricky Wilson on early Kaiser Chiefs‘ albums. It’s a standout hit and a great way to start off the album.

‘Feel It Too’ is one of my favourite songs on the album, and it’s also the shortest. The opening lyrics, “oh you know how slow time goes”, is drawled out in a Morrisey-esque fashion. But the chorus is optimistic and upbeat: “I hope that you still feel it too / like I do”. It’s hard to not be drawn in by the sweetness and sincerity of the lyrics, which resonate with pretty everyone who’s ever been a teenager and had a crush. Scheller continues to sing ,“I hope you do” and “I feel it too” as the song plays out, with string elements being heard in the background, further adding to the gently hopeful feelings to the song.

In ‘Breaking My Phone’, the layering of drums and guitars along with the distorted sounds, is reminiscent of ‘90s Britpop, but with lyrics that speak of a contemporary culture where relationships play out more often than not through our smartphones. Scheller sings, “’cos I keep on breaking my phone / my phone after I’ve spoken to you”, such an addictive lyrical hook that bursts out on the chorus, along with a crashing of guitars and synth tones following a calmer verse.

The rest of the album is also pretty solid, featuring a number of great tracks. ‘Daffodil Days’ is slower during the verses, with a musically upbeat, yet lyrically morose chorus, epitomised in the oft repeated: “I will break / whatever good thing comes my way”. ‘Good Things’ sounds like it’s been influenced by Scheller’s classical roots, with light string sounds appearing in the chorus. The lyrics “we’re all waiting for good things to happen / everyone knows it’s true” and “we all want to be loved by one another”, speak to the simplest things that we all want.

As a collection, each track is unique and just as engaging in its own way. The songs doesn’t exactly merge from one into the next in the way that an album sounds when it’s written as one entity. ‘Cut and Paste’ sounds, as the title suggests, like a selection of songs collected from the many years that Oscar has been writing and recording in his bedroom prior to the LP’s release. But that’s not necessarily a negative thing. This is an album that feels more like a carefully curated soundtrack pulled from different aspects of Scheller’s life and influences.

8/10

‘Cut and Paste’, Oscar’s debut album, is out now on Wichita Recordings. He has a number of upcoming dates around the UK and Europe, including a bunch of festival appearances such as LeeFest: The Neverland 2016 in Tunbridge Wells and Secret Garden Party 2016 in Huntingdon. For more on Oscar, including coverage of him at SXSW 2016 and editor Mary’s interview with him in Austin, go here.

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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