Lucas Oswald - Whet

by Steve Ricciutti Rating:8 Release Date:2017-11-24
Lucas Oswald - Whet
Lucas Oswald - Whet

Lucas Oswald defines hard-working musician. Oswald has a hand in many projects, on both sides of the process, be it producer, engineer, or multi-instrumental musician. His resume reveals stints playing in a handful of bands over his career, including Shearwater, Jesca Hoop, Old Canes, Minus Story, and The Appleseed Cast, in addition to producing and engineering the projects of others. His music has textures of ambient, dream-pop, indie, folk, and mid-era Pink Floyd, ensconced in heavy doses of reverb. At times, more cascading soundscapes than straightforward pop songs; it’s a kaleidoscope of sounds, including Oswald’s whispered falsetto voice, that drive his songs.

Whet, his second solo album, was written during a year and a half of touring with other acts amidst a good deal of personal upheaval in his life. Thus the album seems fueled by self-reflection as artistic coping mechanism, often the font of beautiful work for any artist. Therefore, it makes sense that his melodies compliment the introspective and somber nature of the lyrics, ones that address anxiety, abandonment, and instability.

On the haunting, ethereal initial tack “I Believe in Trying,” Oswald floats above a lightly ringing melody singing, “There are so many fears I still have yet to face.” The understated, jangly rhythm of “Long, Long Year” wonders why, “I’m not too proud to surrender, why am I scared to ask for help?” Yet, through it all, Oswald maintains a crucial sense of humor as he closes out the song with, “Maybe we could take a vacation. I’ve got a few bucks in the bank. But, baby, who am I kidding? I can barely afford a haircut.” Lastly, the album’s highlight, a pulsing, compelling number titled “Dark On Us,” finds Oswald in anxiety mode: “Another sedative to feel okay, cuz what you wanted most, it got away.” These are merely the first three songs straight out of the gate on what is an impressive sophomore effort.

If Whet isn’t the album to necessarily get a rave going, it’s certainly one for those days when the weight of the world requires some musical accompaniment to help with the load, and who doesn’t have those days? Consider Lucas Oswald’s Whet prescription-strength musical therapy.

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