Reviewed by: Alastair Collins
Published: 15 April 2011
ep: waiting for this
For a band who have reportedly only been operating for around two years, The Oscillators’ debut EP ‘Waiting for This’ is surprisingly strong, easily worthy of a lot of attention from the clubbing scene here and abroad. Sporting tracks like opener 'Assume the Position', 'Deck of Cards' and, my personal favourite, 'Broken'; it would be small surprise if this group soon finds itself in high demand within the scene and their songs becoming playlist favourites of a great number of DJs.
Now, while the EP itself is very high quality and there is nothing wrong with the market available to the group as they are right now, there are a few elements that will hold them back, should their ambitions turn towards the wider ‘chart’ market and the possibility of high profile radio singles. I wouldn’t normally explore this possibility, but the EP does feel like it’s trying for a radio single, but falling just short.
Firstly, and this may be an effect of the aforementioned short lifespan of the group or an aesthetic choice, but the sonic palette put forward on ‘Waiting for This’ is somewhat limited and leaning heavily in to pseudo-'90s territory. I’d encourage, before the next recording takes place, experimenting with a much wider range of samples, synth modules and even different types of keyboards, to try find as many different tones as possible. Ideally, for a chart single, there needs to be something about the primary instrumentation that stands out and is immediately identifiable.
Secondly, the writing and arranging on this EP is, as I keep saying, very good and there is a wide and popular market for what is there. However, the amount of instrumentation and continual layering acts as a double edged sword; it adds to the ‘filled out’ feeling of the track, but at the same time dulls the impact of the potential hook lines. Perhaps experimenting with the orchestration, arranging or even just the equalisation to incorporate the integral parts of each instrument line in to fewer overlapping tracks would be beneficial to the marketability of The Oscillators. Also, consider the possibility of cutting some tracks when the primary hook is playing, to maximize impact.
In future recording sessions, an experienced dance producer can be an invaluable tool for any group, which should definitely be considered to help push their work from ‘great’ to ‘amazing’.
‘Waiting for This’ is a great collection of clubbing tracks to put on for dancing or as background music for a party. Perhaps the band might think about trying to market their sound to movie and TV publishers as atmospheric tracks, because they would fit that dynamic perfectly. It doesn’t really have many pronounced hooks in it that will see people walking away humming it which, while it is what makes it such good dancing music, is something the band will need to address should they want to progress further, commercially.
Either way, The Oscillators are a local band who have great potential to make an impact in the dance music scene here and overseas.