Oliver Cole – We Albatri
Today’s review of Oliver Cole’s debut album We Albatri in the Irish Times awards the solo record from the Turn frontman five stars. An impressive feat, but what stood out for me reading the review was that when some of the songs were mentioned by name I found myself singing the lyrics in my head. This is the true test of a great pop tune. If someone says the title of ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head’ or ‘Just Dance’ or ‘Hey Ya’, you find yourself immediately humming the tune. The same with many of the songs here. As soon as I read ‘Moth’s Wing’ in that Irish Times review earlier, the chorus popped into my head.
That applies to most of the songs on the record. Opener ‘What Will You Do?’ is guided by a fantastic piano riff, and has a chorus that sounds eerily like a lot of Jon Brion’s Meaningless – and I don’t compare anyone to Jon Brion unless I really mean it, the man is a musical deity. This is a fantastic pop song, and the perfect way to begin an album.
All the songs on here are fantastic pop tunes. Single ‘Oh My Girl’ is irresistibly catchy, with a hook that could win any listener’s attention. ‘Too Many People’ is one a lot of people have heard before, written by Cole for the Cake Sale album, where it was performed by Glen Hansard. Cole’s doesn’t differ too much from that version, but is sparkling nonetheless. Perhaps an Oscar could be somewhere in the future for Ollie? I could definitely see him scoring movies anyway – there’s hints of Randy Newman and Harry Nilsson in here.
There are highlights galore on here. The smooth soulful ‘Close Your Eyes’ is a gorgeous song, the title track is a sweet piano ballad which requests multiple listens, and ‘Little Bad Dream’ is an instantly memorable singalong song. Fans of Turn will definitely not be alienated, but new fans will also be captivated by the brilliance of ‘Drug Song’, probably the album’s highest point.
It’s impossible to find any flaws with this album. It’s a perfect pop record. Not tween/teen pop, but pop for grown-ups. Pop that people raised on the Beatles or the Beach Boys, or even ABBA, can appreciate. Wonderful in every way.
Oh, and after the album has ended, I’m still singing ‘Moth’s Wing’ in my head. I will be all day…