#Review: Oliver Tree – Ugly Is Beautiful

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Muzik Speaks Loves Atlantic Records - SmallerOliver Tree is one of those artists it’s hard to define. Whilst there are some who insist that he is nothing more than an internet meme, his artistry is undeniable and there’s something instantly captivating about him. Having released a heap of singles since signing to Atlantic Records in 2017, it’s only now, in 2020, we’re seeing the release of his debut album, Ugly Is Beautiful. Here’s what we have to say about it…

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Ugly Is Beautiful is the first full-length release from Oliver Tree, who announced his early retirement in March 2020 – only to return in May with the announcement of his debut record, after a hacker held Oliver hostage in exchange for 1 million Instagram likes (which he logged in under 24 hours).

Having already been delayed twice (once due to Covid-19 and once due to the George Floyd and anti-racism protests), this highly-anticipated debut album proves to be worth the wait. Whilst his appearance, to some, is outlandish, this internet personality, musician and filmmaker has made a genre-defying record if ever there was one. Right from the off, Oliver Tree makes his way through a wide variety of genres, from alternative indie rock to hip hop and pop punk to electronic with a great sense of conviction that is nothing short of highly infectious.

One thing that is incredibly impressive about Tree, throughout the album, is his ability to ensure the listener doesn’t take any one moment too seriously or equally to pass it off as a joke either, using lyrical whit to guide the way. One such track is ‘Joke’s On You!’ where Tree makes his feelings known in the line, “Well yes in fact, my dignity’s intact, while I listen to ‘em laugh,” – here he is obviously making light of the fact that people often see him as a joke yet he’s made something of himself and maintained his dignity in doing so.

There is definitely a sense of nostalgia about Ugly Is Beautiful.

One of my favourite tracks has to be the distortion-heavy, electronic-laiden ‘1993’ (featuring Little Ricky ZR3), which was an instant favourite for me as it sort of epitomises much of the album. He uses tasteful electronic elements alongside intentional distortion giving it a real grungy, edgy feel – like much of the record. ‘Again & Again’ is another track that uses those gritty, distorted vocal effects but it equally has a certain radio-like quality to it, due to its indie-rock vibes.

There is definitely a sense of nostalgia throughout Ugly Is Beautiful too with tracks like ‘Jerk’ reminiscing of a down-tempo Nirvana song, ‘Bury Me Alive’ with its quick-fire delivery, like that of a Beastie Boys track or the David Bowie-esque qualities of ‘Miracle Man’.

However, the only time Tree feels truly familiar is on his previously-released singles, ‘Let Me Down’‘Alien Boy’ and ‘Hurt’, whilst the rest of the record feels new, exciting and refreshingly undefinable. This is a vision that is truly unique and entirely his – this is less an act and more of a glimour into the world of Tree, through his eyes.

Although Tree insists this is his “magnum opus” and that he is to retire from music and focus on film-making and producing instead, his label (Atlantic Records) say, “Ugly Is Beautiful is only the beginning. Stay tuned for more from Oliver Tree.” So I guess we will just have to wait and see! Either way, it would be a real shame if this were to be all we hear from him again.

Rating
4


‘Ugly Is Beautiful’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/ugly-is-beautiful/1514394064


Ugly Is Beautiful on Spotify

Hurt (Official Music Video)

Let Me Down (Official Music Video)

Bury Me Alive (Official Unofficial Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of Oliver Tree’s debut album? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it out of 5? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or via our social media.


Enjoyed this? Check out some of our other reviews here:

Muzik Speaks Album Reviews


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#WildCardWednesday: YONAKA – ‘Bubblegum’


   

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YONAKA are a fantastic Brighton-based band who consist of Theresa Jarvis (Vocals), George Edwards (Guitar), Alex Crosby (Bass/Keys) and Robert Mason (Drums). The band refer to themselves as ‘Dark Alt Pop with heavy riffs’ and I couldn’t agree more; their latest track, ‘Bubblegum’ fuses electro-pop vibes with grungy guitars and it’s all topped off with Theresa‘s vocals (which I find have similarities to Charli XCX).

The video has just been released and it really depicts just what YONAKA are all about – it’s visually intriguing and oddly artistic; what more can you expect from a Brighton-grown band eh?!

You must check out this wonderful song and accompanying video – it’s well worth it!

What are your thoughts of this up-and-coming band? Have you got a #WildCardWednesday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or chat to us about it via social media, using the #WildCardWednesday hashtag.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Bubblegum’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/bubblegum/1289319076?i=1289319088


#MellowMonday: Aquilo – ‘You Won’t Know Where You Stand’


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Having recently seen Aquilo perform in Brighton recently (check out our review), I was captivated by one of their most recent singles, ‘You Won’t Know Where You Stand’.

The Lancashire duo (consisting of Ben Fletcher and Tom Higham) have been working tirelessly on writing, recording and touring, all the while, perfecting their blend of electronica and pop songwriting.

This particular track has a dreamy quality to it; perfect for a #MellowMonday song. No official video has been released yet, but as always, we’ll keep you updated.

What are your thoughts of Aquilo? What’s your favourite track by them? Please share your thoughts or own #MellowMonday choices in a comment below, or via our social media. Also, why not follow our #MellowMonday playlist – https://open.spotify.com/user/muzik5peaks/playlist/0ITJhPZVNklCiwpBetvKPG

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘You Won’t Know Where You Stand’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/you-wont-know-where-you-stand/id1160500619


#Two4Tunesday: Elle King – ‘Ex’s & Oh’s’ & Izzy Bizu – ‘White Tiger’


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Elle King – ‘Ex’s & Oh’s’

Elle King is an alternative pop/pop rock/alternative rock singer who burst onto the scene with her debut single, ‘Ex’s & Oh’s’ back in September 2015.

Her song is about past relationships and the music video is rife with innuendo! The song itself received two nominations at the 58th Grammy AwardsBest Rock Performance and Best Rock Song and it’s clear to see why! It’s a massive tune!

Also, Joe Ragosta (from Patent Pending) recently revealed that this is one of his favourite songs right now, in his Skype interview with us, for Muzik Speaks.


‘Ex’s & Oh’s’ is on iTunes for downloading now! – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/exs-ohs/id941366731?i=941366737



Izzy Bizu – ‘White Tiger’

Izzy Bizu is a new, soulful pop singer from London, UK. To date she has released several singles and she was longlisted on BBC’s Sound Of 2016 list.

She is now gearing up to release her debut album, A Moment Of Madness, in May 2016 and judging by her releases so far, it’s set to be awesome!

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‘White Tiger’ is on iTunes for downloading now! – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/exs-ohs/id941366731?i=941366737


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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