Oh Baby seems to be channeling a thousand 80s nights on their debut EP The Art of Sleeping Alone. Hanging out at the arcade, staring out at a darkened lake with someone you think is the one, being dropped off at an all night skate, or letting it all go at a humid disco. A mixture of upbeat innocence and darkness just around the corner, the UK duo Oh Baby conjure up everything from the Human League, Depeche Mode, Berlin and more modern bands like College and Le Matos. But comparisons aside, Oh Baby create their own version of the 80s experience on their excellent debut.
This 5-song EP is in and out before you can catch your breath, but it’s an exhilarating ride. It’s also a mysterious one, as there’s very little information on Oh Baby, including the names of the duo that makes up the band. So I’ll say this, the vocals, melodies, production, and overall vibe is stunning here. It’s a very 80s-centric EP, but also its very own thing. A soundtrack to a John Hughes movie imagined.
The sleek and sensuous “What We Do” is the quintessential synth pop banger, but with a dark edge. Its’ the kind of song that borders between pop and alternative. It could go TRL or 120 Minutes. “Part of the 80s” would be a huge radio hit if it was 1983. The vocal power of a Pat Benatar arena ready rocker with the romantic sweep of first love(or first heartbreak), all done up like an Animotion b-side. “Love Data” is a glitchy jam, complete with Depeche Mode feels and a Kavinsky vibe. Late night club feels all around.
The amazing thing about Oh Baby’s debut is that despite the obvious tip-of-the-hat to the neon decade, this electro duo are doing their own thing. There’s an urgency between the lines; from the vocal delivery to the propulsive rhythms to the late night decadence hinted at in these excellent tunes. “Sounds Like Love” feels like it’s just on the brink of exploding, but Oh Baby keep things just on the edge. “Save Me” is the car ride home after a long night. A little melancholy, a little apprehensive, but no regret.
The Art of Sleeping Alone will conjure heavy feels in those of us who grew up in the 80s. It’s like running into a complete stranger on the street but feeling as if we’ve known them our whole life. Oh Baby is that friend we never knew we needed, and they have the songs to prove it.
7.9 out of 10
Oh Baby’s ‘The Art of Sleeping Alone’ is available now via Burning Witches Records. Get it here.