As everyone who listened to pop music in the 1980s and 1990s knows, the line between engagingly moody and off-puttingly mopey can be treacherously thin. But great bands (the Cure, My Bloody Valentine, Pink Floyd) have demonstrated that it's possible to negotiate that thin line brilliantly, and danged if these Los Angeles upstarts haven't proved, with this debut album, that it can still be done -- and by first-timers, no less. Oslo's eponymous album opens strongly with the one-two punch of "The Stranger" and "My Soul," the latter a brilliant slab of 1980s Britpop that strongly evokes the middle-period Cure. On "Minutegun" they threaten to slide off into shoegazer bathos, but then catch themselves with "All-Terrain," a song that is no less gloomy but significantly more melodically arresting. Oslo pay tribute to Massive Attack on the dark and desultory "Systemic," after dramatically ramping things up to nearly midtempo on "Starlight." Soft without being sweet and intense without being loud, this is an impressive debut from a very young band that will be impossible to ignore if it continues refining its sound.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Rick Anderson