Resident Records, Brighton
July 15 2017
Words/Pictures: Steve Willcox
There's not many who can resist the charms of London alt-pop duo Oh Wonder - and no wonder I'm one of them. Josephine Vander Gucht and Anthony West produce some of the best contemporary ballads and love songs fit for the modern age.
On a whistle-stop in-store tour to promote their new second album 'Ultralife' released on Friday, for this Saturday late afternoon the pair are calling in on Brighton's Resident Records. And even though I had arrived early, the queue rapidly multiplied with eager fans branching down the alleyway.
Once inside, there was time to browse the store's racks before the acoustic set began, and watch and listen as Oh Wonder (who were originally, and briefly, known as Wonder Wonder) embarked on a quick tune up. 'Ultralife' follows their 2015 self-titled debut album, and their accumulation of over 100,000 Twitter followers, online streams into their millions and international success.
With a simple keys and guitar setup, after thanking the audience for coming, they got down into music, starting off with 'Without You' from their first album, a song rich in harmonies and clever lyrics. The title track they play next from the new album, exudes happy and positive vibes about finding that one person after a period of loneliness and the joy it brings; whether or not today's audience had yet to experience that, they seemed more than happy to hear it relayed to them.
The low key 'Drive', also from the first album, was well received. A difficult song about break ups, it was performed with grace and warmth, and loved by the crowd. Last song 'All We Do', is an instantly catchy and likeable tune and one of those songs you can't help singing along to even though it's the first time you heard it.
Despite a short set and justbone song was from the new album they were meant to be promoting, it nevertheless gave fans the chance of an up close and personal Oh Wonder performance in the small store.
Afterwards Jo was telling the audience of the persistence of reaching for your dream and never giving up; luck is a toss of a coin and eventually it will come up heads - which it certainly has done for Oh Wonder. Listening to the album, it shows how far this duo have came, with the new confidence of performing evident in the rich and clever lyrics and engaging melodies.