By Jody Tideswell
Having released their first singles as a band in 2014, Oh Wonder, a duo made up of Josephine Vander Gucht and Anthony West, have not stopped steadily growing in popularity. Since their first album, comprised of singles released monthly over the course of a year, fans have been mesmerised by their compelling music comprised of soft, melodious vocals, endearing lyrics and soothing synths.
To commemorate the release of their third album, No One Else Can Wear Your Crown, they have performed a series of intimate shows across the country, including a gig with Crash Records at The Wardrobe in Leeds.
Positioned on a small stage in front of the giant, colour-changing neon letters OW, the duo had a chilled out and carefree stage presence, putting focus on the music rather than any theatrics. However, the live show allowed them to show a side to their personalities which doesn’t always translate to some of their slower and more stripped back songs that, in another situation, could potentially fade into the background. Here their senses of humour prevailed as the couple exchanged banter about their song Happy, written about Anthony’s ex and now sung by his current girlfriend and bandmate. The relationship between the two bandmates (who are also a romantic couple) is one that would almost be sickly sweet if it wasn’t so endearing, and it comes as a refreshing break from the usual drama associated with the music world.
Maintaining their signature sound and musical identity, the latest album has a prevailing message of happiness and empowerment. The upbeat pop song ‘Hallelujah’ is about staying true to yourself and not letting others get you down, in-keeping with the ‘crown’ motif of the album which was also used for promoting the album, with various cities and venues having mirrors where fans could take pictures posing underneath a crown. ‘How It Goes’ acknowledges that it is okay to have bad days as well as good, whilst the minimalistic ‘Better Now’ describes a friend’s illness without losing the sense of hope and optimism that runs throughout the album.
Alongside the newer songs, they played a large selection from their first album; the lyrics of old favourites such as ‘Lose it’ and ‘Drive’ being earnestly sung by the enthusiastic crowd at the sold-out venue.
Although they are still best known for their feature on Lil Uzi Vert’s ‘The Way Life Goes,’ Oh Wonder are slowly gaining the recognition they deserve with this enjoyable and sincere album, which entered at number 8 on the UK charts.
Photo credit: Laura Harvey