Just a year and a half after releasing their debut album, London, England’s Oh Wonder have released the first single “Ultralife” off of their highly anticipated sophomore album. The duo began their journey in 2014 writing songs and releasing them on the internet; a common formula for many artists these days. The difference? Oh Wonder didn’t reveal their identities until many months later. When Josephine Vander Gucht and Anthony West, the duo that is Oh Wonder, eventually posted a photo of themselves on their Facebook page, fans were left scratching their heads. Many wondered how they didn’t recognize their voices. Both Vander Gucht and West were involved in separate music projects that fans were certainly familiar with.
Oh Wonder was a project for the two to collaborate on and experiment with different sounds. Their debut album clearly reflects the nature of the project. The songs range from upbeat sing alongs to stripped down hymns that fans are found echoing at their shows.
Fast forward to today, Oh Wonder released the first single “Ultralife” off of their upcoming album. “Ultralife” grounds Oh Wonder in their roots of being an experimental project since day one. This single is the output of the two collaborating, adapting, and learning what sounds work to create a cohesive one.
Memorable piano melodies – a signature – mixed with shimmering synths that hint to childhood video game soundtracks drive the track from start to finish. “Ultralife” contains both Vander Gucht and West singing the vocal melody together with the former slightly more prominent than the other. This is certainly a staple that fans have come to love. “Ultralife” may be different from the songs found on their debut album; however, it is not too different to the extent of it being unrecognizable. It is without a doubt the Oh Wonder that fans have grown with.
While listening to “Ultralife”, fans will be able to point to the elements of Oh Wonder’s music that they have come to adore. It is the ‘unfamiliar’ elements that Oh Wonder fans will be surprised by; the ones that will continue to differentiate Oh Wonder among other artists in a music industry that is highly saturated. The unexpected percussion patterns, the variety in effects used, and the consistently strong songwriting will continue to propel Oh Wonder to the top of music charts across the globe.
Read more about the duo in our September 2015 feature.