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Silent Movies Man
Oski Bravo Silent Movies Man
Released 28 May 2017
Producer Gary Duncan
Label Self
Length 19:00
Genre Indie
Website oskibravo.com
79

Two tracks into Silent Movies Man and I feel I have Oski Bravo pegged, they’re continuing in the same vein in creating catchy acoustic pop numbers and all is good. It’s a genre that fits well given the prominence of cello and acoustic guitar in their sound and many artists have created whole careers without ever stepping outside that genre. Then something strange happens, it starts with a distorted drum intro akin to 'Methamphetamine Blues' by Mark Lanegan, followed by a surprisingly heavy guitar riff from John Crowther and so kicks off 'Cold' a song which shows that Oski Bravo are just as comfortable with an edgier sound. Crowther up until this point had been building atmosphere in songs rather than really letting loose so this was a chance for him to show his chops and take the lead and he delivers. Though it’s not an obvious instrument for a heavier sound, Fiachra Robinson’s cello also meshes nicely with a three note pattern for the chorus. This is followed by 'Fight For a While', the lyrical source of the EP title  with electric guitar again featuring prominently giving the song a ‘90s alt-rock vibe in the mode of Gigolo Aunts. Both songs show a band willing to experiment and step outside their comfort zone even while their overall sound is still fresh.

That being said, their acoustic pop game is still on point. The EP opens with 'Cracked but Intact' an earworm of a song with shades of R.E.M, down to the “doo-doo-doo” backing vocals. 'Welcome Home' is both dreamy and melancholic, the production by Gary Duncan giving the song an ethereal feel, soaked in echo with each instrument clearly heard, spaced out across the mix. The EP is closed out with 'Rubble Pile' a beautiful elegy on a dead relationship, where one partner is still clinging on to the happy memories while the other moves on. It felt like a depressing counterpoint to the hopeful 'Age of Statues'; the statues reduced to the titular pile of rubble. Musically its sparse, long bowed cello notes set the mood while Ken Murphy plays a nice walking bass line to keep things from getting too maudlin but without encroaching on the overall mood. The drums are entirely subdued, reduced to tapped cymbals, a sudden respite of a snare hit tricks you into believing there will be a change of pace to something more positive but instead it acts as a gunshot, reaffirming that it’s over, boy. It’s a heavy end to the EP but it feels authentic and much more relatable because of it.

Silent Movies Man is an EP that again belies the fact that Oski Bravo have been together less than two years. The musicians are talented but there is no jostling for position; over the course of their two EPs all five members have had a chance to shine whilst also taking a step back when the song requires it. Combined, the two EPs make a very solid debut album and reaffirm that this is a band with a lot more to come.

- Brian Kinsella