Oh Wonder @ o2 Institute, 4 November, 2017

Where do you turn when you want a good dance song and some sunny vibes? For many the familiar and stable sonic repetition of pop music tends to be the automatic turn when the weather turns cold and a moment of dance is necessary. Pop music has long been a haven for sunny sides, yet it seems that current pop has taken a slight turn. Gone are the days of pinky tinged pop, now the radio mixes vindictive tales of lost lovers with the candy coated cheers. When the world needs a dance, sometimes the radio is at a loss. That is until the radio turns on Oh Wonder. London based pop duo, Oh Wonder creates bright summery tunes that are bubbly but reflective. There is a lightness yet a depth, bringing good vibes with purposeful meaning. The Institute contains a sold out crowd, Oh Wonder took to the stage, thrilling audiences with their rainbow of tunes and positive feels.

After an impressive opening set from bluesy singer songwriter Laurel and a short turn over, Oh Wonder pranced onto the stage. Bathed in purple and pink lights the duo opened with pop super tune “Dazzle.” The punctuated tune mixes an electronic style rhythm with deep key rifts, a lovely balance of candy pop and classical sensibility. Fans loved it. The crowd was immediately up and dancing, bouncing and snapping along to the tune. The perfect up-tempo pop introduction was followed by “Without You” and “Lifetimes,” two more lively dance oriented songs.

Smooth and sexy “Shark” was an airy electronic song that brought this transcendent wave of sound and movement. The song shows the versatility of Oh Wonder’s sound, along with their perfected pop the duo also dabbles in this electronic indie that is truly a remarkable amalgamation of moody sound and reflective lyrics.  As the lights warm and turn blue, the mood in the room settles from dance frenzy to hypnotic meditation, a moment of peace in the pop oriented show. “Landslide” continued this melodic melancholy with “Heavy” lifting the spirits once again.

New single “High on Humans” brought about the electronic pop. The bubbly staccato song warms and excites fans that sing loudly along with the single.  From this moment on it was a dance party that rivaled the greatest of raves. “Midnight Moons,” “Livewire,” and “Lose It” built in cascading waves, each producing a punch of energy amidst the pulsating lights and flowing lyrics. As if high on the expense, fans danced and giggled, singing so loudly it sounded like a second explosion of sonic glory with each new word. More simple “Overgrown” stripped down the synth oriented set, followed by the almost acoustic “All We Do.” In a perfect moment voices joined together, creating a force that was spiritual in effect.

“Waste” and “Body Gold” a song from each of the two albums, found Oh Wonder back in their electronic pop sweet spot. The night ended with the excitable “Heart Strings” and fan favourite “Technicolor Beat.” The encore followed with “Ultralife” and “Drive.”

For some, pop has turned sour. During what seems to be a difficult time for many,  music has swayed from an uplifter to a reminder of the doom and despair. Oh Wonder combats this; their music is playful and inspiring, their live show mirroring the sonic perfection. At the O2 Institute Oh Wonder celebrated life, warming fans hearts and minds with their electronic pop magnificence.


Review and Photographs – Kylie McCormick

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