Live Review: The Oscillation, The Lexington, 09.03.2016

So it’s a new venue for me tonight, and it comes in the form of The Lexington. Baba Yaga’s Hut have put a nice little line up together tonight in the form of Sterling Roswell supporting The Oscillation on their Monographic album launch evening.

Sterling Roswell is the brainchild of Roscoe, former drummer of Spaceman 3, and after some musical dabbling has since released two solo LPs, The Psychedelic Ubik and The Call of the Cosmos. He takes to the stage complete with walking stick after taking a tumble, but that doesn’t dampen his spirits. Opening with ‘Heartbeat’ and ‘Venus Honey Dew’, both from the first album, the mood is peaceful and reflective, it is after all a Wednesday night and he is easing us in gently. ‘Give Peace another Chance’ is an early stand out track and has the crowd swaying along nicely with its swirly melody and provocative lyrics. It receives some nice accolades from the crowd on its completion and as he says “well, maybe it’s too late for that” it certainly leaves a lasting impression. ‘Nobody Loves the Hulk’ is a fantastically executed rendition of New York’s The Traits 1969 punk anthem and feet are set a-tapping room wide.

Roscoe is joined on stage by drummer Martin Langshaw for ‘Like Wild Horses’ which hints at country in places but maintains the melodic and floating feeling of shoegaze’s finest. To conclude the set, Claire Harrison joins the ensemble on the Moog for new track ‘Atom Brain Monster’; for me the best track of the set. The added electronic element changes the feel completely and the strained lyrics and plucky guitar add an air of mystery. Whilst quite jovial in delivery, when you listen to the lyrics within it is actual a dark political subject matter and creates an effective juxtaposition of material. I had not encountered the musical talents of Roscoe before this evening but I have certainly enjoyed the live experience and will be back for more.

The Oscillation is essentially the project of Demian Castellanos, and music has emerged under this guise since late 2006. Monographic is the fourth studio album release (read review here) and comes on the back of much anticipation and acclaim. Tonight Demian is joined on stage by the current line up of the band consisting of Tom Relleen on bass, Valentina Magaletti on drums and Cathy Lucas on keys.

Opening tonight with ‘Future Echo’ originally from the EP of the same name in 2010 and then later on second album Veils is perfect to set the mood for what is to follow with it weighty bass lines and repetitive vocals. The lengthy track builds in intensity with each rotation of sound and by its conclusion we are ready for more. Title track ‘Monographic’ is next up with its relentless drum beat stirring the crowd to action while the rest of the chaotic track encourages this action. ‘Respond in Silence’ and ‘Lonely People’ are churned out in rapid succession with perfect execution and by now the crowd are really beginning to enjoy themselves. Julian Hand is working his magic with the visuals as we have come to know and love whilst watching The Oscillation and the heady combination of sound and light is mesmerising.

One thing I love about watching this band is that on stage they all look like they are really enjoying themselves, it is easy with the pressure of modern music to forget that this all started as a passion and to see that portrayed in the faces of those on stage really is a treat.

‘Take Us to the Moon’ is another new offering and aptly named as it offers a distinct space feel with its swirling synth, repetitive bass line driving the sound and the dark intonated vocals. There is a lot going on here and it’s refreshing and intoxicating trying to keep up with the sounds we’re being presented with. The smatterings of cleverly placed noise keep the track moving forward. ‘Telepathic Birdman’ is probably the track of the set with its funk groove vibe which is irresistibly catchy. Having not experienced the intensity of this one live before it’s a very welcome addition and by the looks of the dancing bodies around me I’m not the only one who thinks so. The trick stop/starts are more effective live and draw you in further and it’s captivating to watch these masters of their art at work here. Definitely one for the fans this and they lap it up in earnest. ‘Descent’ from From Tomorrow ties up the set with its stark synthetic elements clashing with the probing bass line and insatiable guitar riffs.

There is an encore, an almost unknown occurrence these days for smaller venues, but they are back to play ‘Let It Be the End’ and firm fan favourite ‘No Place to Go’. This is probably as jangly as The Oscillation get, with its upbeat riff working alongside the pulsating bass line and with the lyrics offering something a little more upbeat, it is one of their lighter tracks and a great one to end on.

Monographic is the next chapter for The Oscillation and based on the tracks witnessed here tonight, I envisage it being their most successful to date. With a European tour imminent and a slot confirmed for Eindhoven Psych Lab in June, it would appear that things can only go one way for this band, based on tonight’s performance it is well deserved.

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