(Cosmic Dreamer, out 24 Nov)
Multi-instrumentalist with Shearwater among other bands, Boonville, Missouri’s Lucas Oswald kicks out on his own with this eight track solo effort, Whet. Is he planning to whet appetites or whet a blade ready for battle? There’s much hi-falutin rumination on such matters in his accompanying press statement, none of which is necessary to slip slowly and pleasurably into this floaty, unhurried collection of songs, which would fit nicely alongside some War On Drugs or Cass McCombs.
Opener I Believe In Trying sees this ship drift gently away from shore in a wash of dreamy electronics and guitar echo. Then Dark On Us beefs things up, kicking in with I Am The Resurrection drums and continuing to pay homage to late 80s British indie, with hints of The House of Love.
That’s as raucous as it gets. A Long, Long Year is a mid-paced number, reminiscent of Rilo Kiley. Open Me Up is shoegaze James Taylor. There’s definitely some Lindsey Buckingham in here too, most notably in the inflections and melody of Starving, though the Fleetwood Mac man would have rocked it up rather than mellowed it out.
Tonally, it’s very cohesive, though it could always use more punch, something to shift the dynamic. A long, slow-build climax to Feel It Again shows how that might work, but the tension dissipates into a dainty, underwhelming closer, Passenger (“I’m just a passenger going along for the ride” and it sounds like it too). It’s also a slight album, clocking in at well under 40 minutes. No excuse not to have an extra track or two.
Still, Oswald tours with another of the Shearwater circle, Jesca Hoop, over the next fortnight, including a date at King Tut’s on Fri 8 Dec. He’d be worth checking out, especially given the headliner.