Album Review: Oso Oso – Basking In The Glow

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Oso Oso has patented a sound that always feels comfortable to listen to. Whether you’ve been indulging in their music nonstop, or take a break and come back to enjoy it again, every Oso record is familiarly pleasant. It’s this sound that given them a wide appeal, and got them nominated for The Alt’s Album of the Year in 2015 with their debut, Real Stories of True People, and then win the whole thing in 2017 with the yunahon mixtape. The newest release from Jade Lilitri’s project is another homerun example of this phenomenon. Basking in the Glow is a personal love letter that every listener relates to in one way or another. Every time I listen to the album, I feel like it was written for me, and that it has something to teach me that I may have missed before.

The music definitely feels inspired by the lighter, less grungy side of late 90’s alternative rock, reminding me of bands like Third Eye Blind and The Wallflowers with its gripping hooks. All the guitar tones are consistently warm and brilliant, the chords are full, and the riffs are tight and timely. As with most Oso songs, the instrumentation is beautifully synchronized, but it’s Lilitri’s disarming voice, both literally and narratively, that dictates the group’s distinct sound. He floats on melodies, and successfully balances relatable metaperspective with evocative figurative imagery. It’s giving you the best parts of the unique blend that the project is known for; driving rock progressions with choral melodic effects.

A stand out feature of Basking in the Glow is the choruses. This album is full of hooks, that, incredibly, don’t get redundant. I actually found that I was anticipating those hooks, instead of feeling hammered by them. This is especially true of “a morning song,” and the titular track. Though there are a lot of refrains across the album, it’s still well paced, with “one sick plan” resting in the middle, providing a satisfying break in the action (another example of Lilitri’s strong songwriting strategies, closely directed structuring.)

I also found the title to be extremely effective and accurate to the voice of the album. I definitely get that “basking” sensation from the combined tones and harmonies, and from the theme of idolization built across the narrative: “It feels like all I know is her face, and I’m just basking in its glow.” Lilitri depicts this “glow” as a warm light, radiating from a source with a higher power than you, and the concept is introduced very early, with the chorus of “the view” stating, “My eyes lit up when I saw it, the view from where you sit.” 

Overall, the album is elegant, catchy, and driven by a wonderfully personal perspective that feels like a fresh take to the eccentric Oso Oso experience. Lilitri has proved, once again, that he can write a listener into the moment, giving just the right amount of detail.

Disappointing / Average / Good / Great / Phenomenal

Luciano Ferrara | @LucianoRFerrara

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