Album Review // OH WONDER ‘No One Else Can Wear Your Crown’
The duo continue to do what has made them successful so far in No One Else Can Wear Your Crown – creating soothing and honest music that speaks to the listener’s soul.
London-based duo Oh Wonder share their highly anticipated third album, No One Else Can Wear Your Crown. In their signature style, it’s an album that comforts and soothes with airy vocals and dulcet harmonies moving in unison. The album is a continuation of what the duo are known for and what has brought them to such success in the first place. Baring more of their soul and personal thoughts, it’s a body of work that is undoubtedly more intimate than what we have seen from them so far, but having familiarised themselves with fans over the past two albums, this sharing of feelings doesn’t feel out-of-place; if anything, No One Else Can Wear Your Crown feels like a good catch-up with a friend and provides solace for all of those who have been through a rough patch.
Opener Dust is a gentle lead-in to the work; the first words you hear are, “when people try to get you down, remember that I’m here for you”, and this feeling of companionship and solidarity is a guiding force throughout the album. Neatly setting up the themes that will come to prevail in this album, it sets the self-help tone that characterises this album and differentiates it from the duo’s previous work. Delicate rim-clicks accompany a burgeoning electronic harmony that slowly flourishes as we build towards the chorus, before blooming into a colourful myriad of textures and harmonies that create a depth to the track that warms you from the core. Confessional Happy hammers home the personal touch of the album through its revealing lyricism, whilst the upbeat chorus is undoubtedly catchy with its punchy orchestral strings and jabbing rhythms.
The exposed vocal opening on Better Now showcases the duo’s signature octave harmonies before a delicate keyboard-based melody set the accompaniment alongside finger clicks. The short breaks in the chorus bring a suspense and edge to the otherwise tranquil track as you hold your breath in anticipation of what comes next. Instead of feeling unexpected and disruptive, the short moments of silence almost seem to provide a short break for the full impact of the track to sink in, and as the track naturally surge and decline, there’s never a moment where it feels like the duo has lost you and everything feels completely organic. Previous single Hallelujah pulsates with a new-found energy and confidence, and it’s definitely one of the most affirming moments on the album.
Channelling some lo-fi vibes in How It Goes, the jazz-tinged melodies and saxophones make this track an easy listening. This is a common recurrence throughout the album; all of the tracks are easy-going in their own way, and although the tracks individually may not strike you immediately whilst you listen to it, it is striking how coherent the whole body of work is and the cohesiveness exhibited between the songs. Despite the fact that there aren’t any drastic musical deviations, there’s a comforting familiarity to be found within Oh Wonder’s consistent style that is greatly appreciated within their third album. The duo recognise the value of sticking to what works for them, and it’s this that makes them excel in No One Else Can Wear Your Crown.