Album review: OAKMAN – Violent Oblivion

French pop-rock trio OAKMAN share stories of love, hope, fear and despair on this spritely debut album…

Album review: OAKMAN – Violent Oblivion
Rachel Roberts

Violent Oblivion might sound like something from a deathcore band, but Lyon-based pop-rock trio OAKMAN will actually have you feeling like you’re wrapped in cotton wool and ascending into space on this debut album. They knot together springy rhythms with star-like glints of spacey synths, and though it’s packed full of bright head boppers seemingly innocent on the surface, the band are digging deep into themes of guilt and blame, self acceptance, and other tales of love and loss throughout.

Marine Lanzillotta’s vocals feel clear and apparent right from opener Ricochet, a detox from cursive singing that feels controlled and concise. Its strongest tracks, meanwhile, come in the shape of I Wish Myself To Be Happier – a defiant declaration in grasping the most of life with no guilt, with its high school cheer drum beat and peppy guitar – and Love Picture Soundtrack, which captures the nervy essence of crushing on someone.

A lot of the rest feels similar in regards to their instrumentation, but the murkier Curse with its Stranger Things-ish '80s intro and acoustic ballad A Letter To Them break this up well. Things loop back to its short intro with final track …Faraway In Space, Forever matching the expansive and dreamy I Am Floating. It's a reminder of the core that propels this entire album – a point of subconsciousness or oblivion brought on by the chaos of reality.

This record establishes OAKMAN as a more electronic-laden band, stepping away from the grungier soundscapes of their early EPs while still clutching the same lyrical honesty tight. It’s the sort of record that gives you a thirst to see it live, though you’ll first need to listen intently and in the right order to fully grasp at its darker underbelly. Though it might not be for those who like it heavy, Violent Oblivion has a captivating alt.pop charm that still feels packed with plenty of meaning.

Verdict: 3/5

For fans of: CHVRCHES, Enter Shikari, Cherym

Violent Oblivion is released on May 3 via Rude

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