Sometimes, God is especially nice, and lets us be born near the person we are made to make art with. In the case of the Moore brothers (well, twins), God was especially kind. The two grew up playing music together and had several well-deserved victories in Battles of the Bands. I saw them play live a few months ago and was amazed by their musical dexterity and playful unity. And, to bless us all, they released their first EP, Hallucinate late last year.
The musicality on this album speaks to easy comfortability with the difficulty of their songs; every chord and lick feels organic and absolutely a part of the song as a whole. While Oliver Riot is innovative and original, they are playing their music, not striving for impossibly avant-garde nonsense that doesn't feel like their own expression. The songs are calm and catchy (think somewhere between Bon Iver and Hozier). In short, nothing is out of place, and the brilliant balance between the EP's empty spaces and its fullest moments speak volumes about their producer and creative vision.
Lyrics are my lion's den judging ground when it comes to musicians. A lot of young artists throw everything they have at an album (which is good) but don't put in the hours to contain and refine their ideas into units of connected thought (which is unwise). By doing this, the artist throws their own colors and emblems over the entire world, leaving the listener with tinted glasses. I do this in some songs. Everyone who creates does this (on occasion). Having listened to many, many first albums and EPs, I can say with confidence that this does not help the music. It is telling that all of the visual material for Hallucinate is in black and white.
The lyrics on the album are creeping and haunting, leaving the listener with a new idea, one that can sit quietly on the shoulder for hours. Some songs, such as "Alcatraz," are a bit cleverer with the execution of the stealthy clawing into the soul, and others, like "Tired and Awake," dig in with naked honesty. Their lyrics are poetic without overreaching, the feeling of tears and choked up voice, and the feeling of late-night driving through an empty desert in a car with a sleeping passenger. In short, I can't stop listening and don't want to. Get the EP. Follow them on social media, and catch them live. It'll be great.
Artist: Oliver Riot
Genre: Blood Indie
Vaguely Reminiscent Of: Hozier, Bon Iver, City and Colour.
Standout Tracks: "Alcatraz," "Tired and Awake."
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