The 2016 beloved The Yunahon Mixtape saw Oso Oso’s songwriter Jade Lilitri lean towards a more cynical route. That pessimistic writing style has lead to most of Oso Oso’s success, however, for their new album, Basking In The Glow, Lilitri wanted to try for a more glass is half-full type of vibe. Understanding that while there are certainly more bad days than good, you must still let the light in to appreciate the good ones.
Oso Oso perfectly demonstrates the dawning of a new day belief with the introduction track by having thunderstorms raining down only to be broken up with a soft acoustic guitar and heavenly vocals peaking through the clouds. Even with a more optimistic view Lilitri’s signature characteristic shines, “Laying in the grass we were dragging all out. Got my head in your hand and head in the clouds.” While wanting to be hopeful there’s a constant disconnect with peace. Distorted effects muffle up the lyrics a bit allowing the song to evaporate into blissful chaos.
After the storm passes over we’re engulfed in some sunshine with the energetic hip songs, “The View” and the title track “Basking in the Glow.” The latter pumps you up with thumping bass before turning into an enhanced pop setting. Don’t let the upbeat swing full you, Lilitri’s lyrics wrestle with the idea of being happy every goddamn day, “I hate the way I miss your touch. I hate these songs I sing, this empty drink, do I even give a fuck?”
Perhaps the best song on the album is “Dig.” It’s smooth, catchy and oh so cool. Terrific instrumentation and hushed vocals intensify when the charged up chorus sings “There’s this hole in my soul, so how far do you wanna go,” before ending with kickass guitar solo where the band really lets loose.
There are noticeable technical audio issues on “One Sick Plan.” It’s a solid enough song with an acoustic guitar accompanied by filtered out vocals giving the impression that it was a home recording. However, the rough static sounds fading in and out the entire track is quite jarring feeling misplaced compared to the rest of the album. I tried three different pairs of headphones to make sure there wasn’t something wrong on my end. Even over Bluetooth speakers, the overall quality of the song is very clunky making the experience quite unpleasant.
Luckily, Oso Oso is able to recuperate with “Priority Change” and their most punk song on the album, “Wake Up Next To God.” The energetic thrashing is heart pumping allowing Lilitri’s gentle voice to come off as edgy working well against the heavier sound. Lastly, the album ends on “Charlie.” Surprisingly it’s a bit of a bummer track after all this talk of wanting to be happy. Making the realization that no matter how hard you try to escape, the darkness will always be present.
Oso Oso’s Basking In The Glow allowed Jade Lilitri to commit to letting the light in, if only because he knows the darkness like the back of his hand. Even with the optimistic view, there’s still this distrust within the lyrics masked by the lustrous swing. Aside from the hiccups on “One Sick Plan”, the upbeat tempo of the songs lead to an intriguingly bright indie album that’s a decent listen from start to finish.