21 Feb 2017

Oliver Wilde / Post-Frenz Container Buzz (album review)

Oliver Wilde is an artist that finds himself in somewhat of an unusual position ahead of his latest release. Despite having shared two albums and an extended EP thus far, Post-Frenz Container Buzz represents the first time the 27-year-old has had an audience to consider whilst writing an album, having produced the majority of his previous work years before they were put out by his label. Furthering Wilde’s unconventional career path, a life-threatening heart condition has prevented the Bristolian from ever consistently touring, with his show in London late last year ending a two year absence from the capital. Its fair to say things have been far from textbook.

This said, Wilde has never really been one for traditional anyway, and the mind-altering expanse of otherworldly noise that sprawls Post-Frenz Container Buzz is evidence of just this. Fiercely abrasive as it is wildly enchanting, this hour long epic is the sound of an artist that thrives on pushing boundaries, taking the cliches of pop music and fucking them up beyond recognition, forming beautiful new life out of the battered remains. Wilde’s desire to twist and distort existing formulas has been evident since his 2014 debut, but never before has it been executed with the intense levels of intelligence and creativity present throughout this latest effort, each track overflowing with spiralling imagination, layering endless textures upon each-other, every tiny processed sound resonating with the influence of a hundred effects pedals and countless production tricks. 

These dense sonic atmospheres flourish with a creeping darkness, whether found in the jarring chords that channel Good Kind of Froze with frightening energy, or in the closing synthesisers of Lucky Strut, that scream although the very fabric of their existence is being torn apart. This is not to say the album is without its moments of clarity and light, in truth there is a multitude of stunning ethereal soundscapes, but be warned this is a record driven by unrelenting experimentation, and offers up just as many horrors as it does lullabies. 

For all these vast pallets of sound and the ever-changing instrumentation that jumps from tender violin strings to gloopy, distorted bass-lines and back again, Wilde himself remains one of few constants to be found across the albums duration. His fuzzy vocal tones permeate with an aching melancholy, and despite efforts to be less introspective, still feel crushingly personal and intimate, as if Wilde is reading straight from the pages of his diary. This fearlessness and honesty is perhaps a symbol for the album as a cohesive work, built upon both successes and backwards-steps, Post-Frenz Container Buzz gleams with the sweat of a musician who, whilst calculated in his methods, pours everything into his work. The result is an album that masterfully blends eclectic, alien electronics and heavenly, kaleidoscopic melodies, highlighting a songwriter with an untethering ambition and marking the defining moment in Wilde’s discography.


(Words: Joe Austin)