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Oski Bravo
Oski Bravo Oski Bravo
Released 1 October 2016
Producer Liam Mulvaney
Label Self
Length 23:32
Genre Indie
Website oskibravo.com

Listening to debut EPs is always an interesting experience; songs, long gestated in the head of the songwriters, finally getting delivered to the masses on the back of self-funded studio time. For some it represents the starting point of their musical endeavours while for others it represents the peak. So now is the turn of Oski Bravo to step forward and submit their self-titled offering for judgement.

The Dublin based five-piece augment the standard band set up of guitars and drums with a cello, adding an extra dimension to the sound throughout. This is likely to garner a lot of comparisons to Damien Rice or The Swell Season but it’s important to stress that this isn’t an attempted sound-a-like band and this is made abundantly clear from the oriental tinged opening song 'Mouth to the Wheel'. This is a frantic introduction to the band where any concerns that the bass and cello may struggle to co-exist are put to rest immediately, the smooth bass line nicely underpins the ferocious stabs of the cello throughout.

The second track, 'Automatic' is a sudden change of pace; less frantic than its predecessor but still allowing each instrument to be heard, ploughing along nicely as a downbeat number. The vocal section that kicks in just shy of the three minute mark is the true pay off of this song though and shows a band with a knack for crafting song structures that are far from basic.

'Hammerheart' and closing track 'Eyeful' show that the band are more than capable with the stripped back ballads (the former sounding uncannily like a Crowded House number) however it was 'Age of Statues' that really sold this band to me as one to watch. Their stated goal when they formed in late 2015 was to create addictive acoustic pop music and they deliver this here; I’m almost embarrassed by how many times I clicked back to the start of the song as soon as it finished. There’s a lot to like about this song; the harmonies, how the chorus develops slightly differently each time, the production efforts that make the sound grow, the lyrics that suggest enough of the story without ever giving too much away. Lead singer and chief songwriter, Donnchadh Mac Aogáin, really nailed it with this song.

It is often the case that the debut output is that of a band waiting to find their voice. Whether the band have settled on their final sound or if it will continue to evolve, is anyone’s guess but one thing is clear – this EP should not be the peak of a band with the chemistry and abilities of Oski Bravo.

- Brian Kinsella