My second piece for my column in the Swindon Advertiser this week (8th May) is a look at now Bristol based (but formerly of Aldbourne) musician Oliver Wilde, who is making huge waves nationally with his blissed out fuzz-pop.
It has been a long time since the heady days of XTC flying high in the charts and up until recently the Swindon area had struggled to make much of an impact on the national music scene. All that changed recently of course, with the likes of Gabrielle Aplin and Josh Kumra scoring hit singles, and is likely to continue with the rise of another son of these lands, Oliver Wilde, who, although he has been adopted by Bristol in recent years, grew up just outside Swindon in Aldbourne (I love that his official press biography calls him a Dabchick, without explaining why!).
Oliver first came to attention in 2013 when he released his debut album A Brief Introduction To Unnatural Lightyears, a record of minimalist splendour and headphone escapism. It was a unique piece of work that marked him out as an artist who had his own voice and style – fuzzed out pop-folk music full of blissfully expansive soundscapes and sparse arrangements – and suggested he was only scratching the surface of his potential. As Wilde describes it, it was the first part of “a three part series about personal growth, transformation and being able to articulate feelings that you or I otherwise thought were unreachable.” Garnering high acclaim from the likes of NME, Drowned in Sound and DIY, it illustrated his ability to connect with his listeners on a deeply personal level.
This week the follow up to that record was released, the fantastically titled Red Tide Opal in the Loose End Womb. Nominally the middle section of the “trilogy” it was partly written during a spell in hospital that changed the subject matter he was interested in dramatically. This collection of songs hunt for the more abstract relationships between unrelated things and explore those lyrically rather than being as introspective or obvious as the first record. The music follows suit with more dynamics, more layers and more creativity whilst still retaining that singular identity. Already record of the day on BBC 6Music and getting strong reviews from key specialist press could this be the moment another local musician joins the big leagues?