Oso Oso – ‘Basking In The Glow’

By Andy Joice

Oso Oso know about cynicism. That cynical, pessimistic outlook is what Jade Lilitri has spent his life writing about. Lilitri’s solo project after State Lines went on indefinite hiatus, he initially struggled to find a label for last year’s sophomore album ‘The Yunahon Mixtape’, before being courted by record companies nearly a year after it’s release – it’s clear Lilitri is a patient saint. Signing to Triple Crown Records – the home for fellow self-reflective indie/emo bands Foxing, Free Throw and Sorority Noise – not only have Oso Oso found a home, he’s found a home that’ll nurture, support and ultimately push him.

So while ‘Yunahon’ was embracing the darker side of life, ‘Basking In The Glow’ reaches into the light and pulls on positive influences. Take the title track for example. With its exceptionally hooky chorus, “These days it feels like all I know is this face / I hope I’m basking in the glow”, it’s the verses that confirm his outreach for positivity. While lines like “I hate the way I miss your touch” might sound dubious, it’s quintessentially a love song told from the perspective of a largely pessimistic person.

Couple that with first single ‘Dig’ and its equally catchy chorus that includes the line “Yeah, there’s this hole in my soul / so how far do you wanna go?”, and it’s a subtle message about opening up in relationships and embracing flaws. While Lilitri is able to write such compelling and relatable tracks, they don’t at all feel overly saccharin, despite his delicate harmonies and syrupy voice.

Acoustic song ‘One Sick Plan’, while slightly jarring, has the feel of a track recorded in the middle of the night, in the corner of your bedroom. Whether intentional or not, the production – including static-like feedback and less than clean vocals – creates a mystifying, almost incomplete sound. It’s as if Lilitri picked up a guitar and started playing off the cuff. The tenderness within the lyrics, like an open wound, pour out, with Lilitri at his most transparent.

Second single ‘Impossible Game’ plays on Lilitri’s attempts to maintain the positive vibes, with yet another catchy chorus, culminating in “I got a glimpse of this feeling / I’m trying to stay in that lane” – a mantra that’s relevant throughout the record. Maintaining good feelings in spite of all the bad luck and bad times surrounding us.

Perhaps the darkest moment closes the album. ‘Charlie’ is a throwback to ‘Yunahon’ – dark and melancholic, it’s a reminder that not everything can be totally positive. You need that bitterness to make the sweeter times even better. With the last line of the album being “and in the end I think that’s fine / cause you and I had a very nice time”, Lilitri fittingly closes out ‘Basking In The Glow’ in the most appropriate way – tugging at the heartstrings.

‘Basking In The Glow’ is stuffed with intricate yet appealing melodies, earworms and an outstanding vocal presence; its introspective battle between the dark and light is both clever and deceptive. It feels like a direct reflection of the listener – if you’re a glass half full person, you’ll gravitate towards the upbeat and cheerier content. If you’re half empty, the darker songs will resonate with you more. And if that isn’t a perfect representation of life and humanity, nothing is.

ANDY JOICE

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