Los Angeles-based rock band Oslo’s sophomore offering, The Rise and Fall of Love and Hate, blends stoner rock with gothic moodiness and powerful, rolling instrumentation.
Oslo consists of lead singer/guitarist Mattia Borrani, bassist Kerry Wayne James, guitarist/backing vocalist Gabriel McNair, keyboard player Damon Ramirez, and drummer Charlie Walker. Borrani, James and McNair also work together as songwriters.
The Rise and Fall of Love and Hate opens with “Slowdive,” a melodic mix of pop and crashing rock. It’s one of the album’s standout tracks. This is followed by “On My Mind,” a haunting love ballad. My only complaint about this track is that it’s over too quickly; at just over two minutes, it’s by far the shortest song on the album.
The music is moody, but not melodramatic. Fans of dark ‘80s alt rock will appreciate the sophisticated orchestration and slow, dreamy pace on songs like the title track and “Alive.”
Oslo sounds vaguely like a gothic Oasis, with more intricate composition and less self-indulgent introspection and philosophizing. The orchestration is complex, with a rich, multi-layered sound reminiscent of the Cure. Reverberations and mild feedback work together to create a dreamy backdrop for Borrani’s drawling vocals.
Oslo’s music would certainly fit right in on college rock stations. Thankfully, however, Borrani avoids the melodramatic singing style that makes the lead singers of so many emo bands sound so constipated. It’s comforting to know that some “alternative” bands still know how to rock.
The band is embarking on a bi-coastal tour this fall in support of their new album. Tour dates can be found at their Myspace profile.