#Review: Oliver Tree – Ugly Is Beautiful

facebook_logos_PNG19751.png    ios_homescreen_icon.png   app-icon2.png


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…

Oliver Tree - Ugly Is Beautiful.png

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
www.facebook.com/muzikspeaks
www.twitter.com/muzik_speaks

#Review: The Chicks – Gaslighter

facebook_logos_PNG19751.png    ios_homescreen_icon.png   app-icon2.png


Dixie Chicks are a well known country pop band comprised of singer Natalie Maines and multi-instrumentalist sisters Martie Erwin Maguire and Emily Strayer. The group initially formed in 1989 , in Dallas, Texas and have, to date, released 7 studio albums. Now, 2020 sees the band release their eighth record and their first album in 14 years, Gaslighter. It is also the first record to be released under the new name, The Chicks, following the George Floyd protests. Here’s what we have to say about it…

The Chicks - Gaslighter.jpg

The album launches with title track, ‘Gaslighter’, a no holds barred anthem about the breakdown of Maines’ relationship and ultimate divorce. In fact, this particular topic provides a lot of material for the album – it was originally slated to be a simple record of covers in order to fulfill their contract with Sony, but following her divorce, she was inspired to start songwriting again.

‘Tights On My Boat’ is another one of those tell-all tracks detailing an affair her ex-husband had, with a lover, on the couple’s boat, on which she discovered a tell-tale pair of tights. The track (along with a couple of others) is written with pop songwriter and artist, Julia Michaels. Additionally, the trio collaborated heavily with Taylor Swift‘s 1989 producer, Jack Antonoff, seeing him take production credits for the record and some songwriting credits too.

This album certainly doesn’t disappoint when it comes to personal or political songwriting. ‘March March’ takes a look at issues of gun control, climate change and underfunded education and puts them through a contemporary bluegrass lens. Whilst ‘Set Me Free’ is all about Maines looking to be released from her marriage.

It’s an exciting pop take on a country record that is likely to reignite fans’ passions for the band and pick up a whole host of new ones along the way too.

Possibly some of the best tracks on the album come in the form of ‘Sleep At Night’, a banjo-led candid look at her ex-husband’s affair; ‘Texas Man’ with its upbeat rhythm combined with rousing lyrics and the captivating vocal riffs of ‘Young Man’.

Possibly my favourite track on the record has to be ‘Julianna Calm Down’ – it builds beautifully throughout with a really catchy, contemporary pop edge to it. Whilst ‘My Best Friend’s Wedding’ has some wonderful vocal harmonies and a sense of honesty about reflecting on how Maines met her ex-husband.

The Chicks may have changed their name and their new music may well have a certain degree of poppiness that die-hard country fans could cringe at, but this is exactly the evolution you would expect from the band’s last album back in 2006, to where they are today. It’s an exciting pop take on a country record that is likely to reignite fans’ passions for the band and pick up a whole host of new ones along the way too.

Rating
4


‘Gaslighter’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/gaslighter/1499733036


Gaslighter on Spotify

Gaslighter (Official Video)

Sleep At Night (Official Video)

March March (Official Lyric Video)

Julianna Calm Down (Official Lyric Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the band’s eighth studio 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
www.facebook.com/muzikspeaks
www.twitter.com/muzik_speaks