Charlie And The Oscillator formed in 2018 as two DJ’s and fuse breakbeats, synths, and samples to create eccentric alternative electronic dance. They are adapt at twisting and bending sounds into their own distinctive style using a vast collection of vinyl and analogue equipment and have been compared to DJ Shadow and The Prodigy. Their debut album ‘Journey Of Echoes’ was released in 2020 and they release their brand new album ‘Musical Emergency Evacuation Kit’ this month. The band have expanded to a trio since their debut album with spoken word artist Shaun Rivers who previously collaborated with The Brian Jonestown Massacre joining.
The album opens with `Music Is Notes` which appears to be a blend of spoken word segments shared over a fairly ambient musical platform with an instrumental snippet of `No More` a song made famous in Elvis Presley`s 1961 film `Blue Hawaii` guiding us out. We have in `Ahhhhh` a mix match of sounds with the title word shared throughout over a variety of guitar riffs, flute tones and a fast paced soundtrack that at times sounded like a theme tune to an American detective series but also had the resonance of the Prodigy`s `Charly`
`Time To Fly` is a fairly trippy composition with a positive message shared throughout and a brief spoken word oration spliced mid song. The wonderfully titled `Juggling Chickens` is a song that shouldn`t work but certainly does. We have an underlying beat akin to an instrumental version of Cypress Hill`s `Insane In The Brain` but slowed down and a fella with a Northern accent referencing juggling these domesticated junglefowl with another wanting to “see sounds and wanna taste words / chicken” . It`s the kind of track that draws you in like a moth to a flame.
`The Sheikh` is a groovy earworm of a song that ambles along and becomes fairly mesmerising. There`s another quite spellbinding listen with `Abandoned` which rolls along and has some gently shared vocals pitched at a level that you can`t quite make out what they`re saying. Wonderful stuff.
`Children’s Eyes` is a mid-paced dance like almost baggy-esque number with sentiments referring to revolution shared atop this entrancing submission. There`s a similar vibe to `Electric Bozo` which wouldn`t have been out of place in a rave or at the Hacienda during the height of its acid house days or daze.
`First Word Rap` has an electro dance like beat over which a number of samples, both American and British in origin are intertwined in, over and throughout giving it a fairly enticing listen. There`s a much faster rhythm to `Still Alive` which was on route to becoming a drum and bass like offering.
`Perspektive` is a really lovely chilled aural soundscape with a viewpoint or outlook quietly shared on top as what the title maybe hints towards. I thought `Thirty Dollar` was really ingenious. It had a dreamy underlying beat with a sampled American auctioneer relating a variety of dollar monetary value bids in a kind of warped or distorted manner. Genius.
We close out with `Cable Car` which was almost psychedelic and hallucinogenic at times as it evolved. A delightfully exuberant number to end on.
There was so much to enjoy on this release and I can imagine this band would go down a storm at a festival. I`d put them in the same genre as bands such as The Shamen, Utah Saints, Leftfield, Orbital, Underworld, and Ozric Tentacles.
There are thirteen tracks included here which is usually unlucky for some but lucky for us. The band have said this album was crrrazy psychedelic electro-punk and also pretty weird, wacky and wonderful !! I have to say it`s all that and much, much more.
In the event of a nuclear fallout, god forbid, you could do worse that having your copy of ‘Musical Emergency Evacuation Kit’ handy.
Rating 9 / 10