Who: Oh Wonder
One of the pleasures of going to a festival is the opportunity to see so many different bands in the same place at the same time. In the non-festival world, unless you live in the middle of a big city, going to a gig involves quite a commitment and no little expense. Yes, you’ve laid out quite a bit to get to the festival, but if you’re lucky, by the time it rolls around that pain has receded a little and you can convince yourself this music is basically free!
Latitude 2016 was just getting started, we walked on to the site on that Friday afternoon and ended up at the 6music stage / bloody great circus big top. Oh Wonder hadn’t been on stage long but the crowd had already warmed up and were loving it.
‘Some bloke thrashing away on a guitar in brilliant sunshine doesn’t seem right’.
Scheduling bands on the first day of a festival must be a bit of a tricky proposition. The crowd is a mix of some early arrivers who have spent the night, they’re in the mood and ready to party. But you’ve also got the folk who’ve just arrived after spending a few hours in a traffic jam.
I struggle to get into anything too heavy until the sun is heading towards the horizon. Some bloke thrashing away on a guitar in brilliant sunshine doesn’t seem right. So for me Oh Wonder were ideal. I’m sure their brand of electro-pop is a little lightweight for some. There’s something fresh about the Oh Wonder sound that perfectly suited that Friday afternoon, opening our festival if not ‘the’ festival.
When: As I said, Oh Wonder were the first set of this year’s Latitude Festival and for my partner one of her standout moments of the weekend.
What: Oh Wonder, formed in 2014, are duo Josephine Vander Gucht and Anthony West. The couple are based in south London.
As more and more bands clamour for the attention of the internet getting noticed becomes increasingly difficult. Oh Wonder’s solution was to record, edit and release a track each month from the studio at the end of their garden. Starting in September 2014 with Body Gold (below) they were released onto Soundcloud. By the end of those twelve months, their debut self-titled album was written and had garnered them a huge online following.
This is that first track uploaded to Spotify back in 2014.
And their latest album sampler. You can listen to the whole album on Soundcloud.
Why: Maybe it’s the full-of-expectation warm memory of that first sunny day at Latitude influencing me, but I don’t think so. There is definitely something in their songwriting to be nurtured. They have an uncanny knack of nailing the musical hook, it draws you in and before you know where you are you’re half way through the album.
Some reviews have commented that the harmonies tend to be a little monotonous. That seems a little harsh, however, I would be interested in hearing them mix it a little.
Where: As I write Oh Wonder are in the midst of a European tour. There are some more UK dates coming up with Festival No.6 in Portmeirion on 3 September, Bestival on Isle of Wight on the 9th and London’s Roundhouse on the 13th. They’re then of on a huge US tour until November. All the dates are here.
Have a great week. Have any new music you’d like to recommend? Hit me up at @nigelrumsey