Oslow - Oslow (Cover Artwork)

Oslow

Oslow: Oslow

Oslow (2017)

Resist Records


4.5
With group’s like The Smith Street Band and Camp Cope breaking through the punk-rock ceiling, helping to put Australian music on the international radar, it seems like now is the perfect time for Sydney post-punk outfit Oslow to drop their newest release. After slugging it out for years touring Do...

With group’s like The Smith Street Band and Camp Cope breaking through the punk-rock ceiling, helping to put Australian music on the international radar, it seems like now is the perfect time for Sydney post-punk outfit Oslow to drop their newest release. After slugging it out for years touring Down Under, alongside recent success off the back of 2015’s No Longer Concerns Me 7”, Oslow is the band’s debut, self-titled full-length album, and it’s a total banger.

Whether it’s through shimmering guitar passages (‘Asleep In The Hallway’), rich organic tones (‘Sewing’), or lofty vocal melodies (‘Cold Dark Space’), Oslow is a record that confidently nods its head at 00’s nostalgia, while also acting as a signpost for inventive and memorable song-writing. This opening trifecta positions the listener at a crossroads of indie rock, alternative and post-punk sounds, similar to contemporary acts like Balance & Composure, Title Fight and Nothing. The lead riff that opens ‘Los Croydos’ will inevitably draw some Hyperview comparisons, yet front-man and bassist Dylan Farrugia’s vocal timbre is distinctive, and when he hits the chorus and proclaims that “We don’t belong here,” the effect is both atmospheric and hypnotic.

The interplay between Farrugia’s bottom end and guitarists Jacob Rossi and Sean Hampstead is beautifully rendered by engineer Dylan Adams’ restrained production, with each instrument having its own place in the mix, yet not at the expense of any others. On ‘Everything Etc.’ Farrugia’s vocals take on a slight Jesse Lacey approach (albeit with an Aussie twang), and when the massive chorus arrives Rossi and Hampstead trade off cryptic backing melodies that push the track straight into the stratosphere. Drummer Alex Ashtiani keeps things plugging along with a strong, rhythmic backbone, adding delicate flourishes and creative fills in tracks like ‘Nothing Yet’ and ‘Deer In The Works.’

In the press material accompanying the album’s release, Farrugia explains that the “the songs themselves seek to express our personal experiences as young people in Australia and what that means at this juncture in history.” With eleven tracks and a total run-time of just 40 minutes, Oslow is dense with ideas and patient in execution. The record never outstays it’s welcome, moving confidently between varied moods and textures in a way that belies the fact that this is the group’s debut album. As Farrugia goes to explain that “With the world seeming to crumble everywhere around you it’s very easy to disengage and lose sense of worth… Understanding that through the sharing of experiences we better each other’s lives and have the ability to impact what happens around us.” In that respect, there’s no denying that Oslow will certainly have a positive impact on Oslow’s career. However, ultimately time will tell if that sudden impact manifests into a long-lasting impression.