Oh Wonder’s latest album Ultralife exceeds expectations

You know it when you hear it. There’s the sound, with the sound comes the mood, with the mood comes the feelings, and with the feelings come the memories.

There are songs like that for everyone. The ones you listen to, and then you remember some of the greatest times of your life.

Fortunately for me, Oh Wonder’s most recent album, Ultralife, gives a nostalgic feeling about a moment, a summer, an experience I’ve been exposed to.

Oh Wonder is a duo originating from London; it consists of members Josephine Vander Gucht and Anthony West.

After their project of releasing one song a month for an entire year, Oh Wonder released their debut self-titled album in 2015 and found quick success. They now perform around the world and currently on a world tour in support of their sophomore album, Ultralife.

Ultralife begins with the sounds of New York City in the first track, “Solo.” After the clamor of the city, the song transpires into a whimsical beat that sends nothing but good vibes. The theme presented in the song is a message all people need to hear: you need to take time to know yourself.

The first single released, “Ultralife,” is next on the tracklist. The overall sound progresses naturally with instruments being added after each lyric break and it is incredibly well thought out. The whole song provides the feelings of summer that you yearn for during the cold winter months.

Track number 3, “Lifetimes,” showcases the progression and advancements in Oh Wonder’s overall sound. Although the two members usually sing in unison together at all times, this song features West singing solo. This new development in their sound is not only a pleasant surprise to me, but it is incredibly interesting to listen to.

Moving to the middle of the album, “Bigger Than Love,” starts with a piano instrumental. This differs from the rest of the mainly electronic-based sound present on the album. Oh Wonder has mastered the art of building sound and this is displayed on this track. The percussion doesn’t come in until the end of the first chorus, and the overall complexity of noise builds after that point. The listener is never bored, and always ready for and expecting more.

The album closes with “Waste.” Although the song is repetitive, the energy still builds and the sound still travels. The song is simple and is a great way to ease out of an incredibly high energy album. I walked away from the album feeling satisfied with my overall listening experience.

Ultralife is an essential album for any listener. This pick-me-up album will put you in the best of moods. Although the limited range of instrumentals could be seen as lacking, I never found the album boring or thought any two songs sounded the same. The album shows promise for the rest of Oh Wonder’s career. Although they have created high expectations with the release of their first two albums, I’m sure album three will smash all goals set. Until their next release, I’ll be constantly playing Ultralife to dream of the best days of my life that are yet to happen.