It’s appropriate that Oracle Sisters’ ‘Paris I’ was recorded in a wooden shack on a farm in south-west France. The tracks feel like they’re from another time – folky, sun-kissed and oozing with mellow optimism. Remember that?
The Parisian duo had been on our radar since introducing their hazy-eyed pop to the world with ‘Always’ in 2018. Since, a trio of singles through 2019 confirmed their ability to create layered guitar tunes – the addition of Julia Johanssen on drums and vocals elevates these songs and their craft.
At nineteen minutes the EP is long but comes with a level of intent and the band already have a follow-up EP, ‘Paris II’ in the works. A combination of both EPs could make a reasonably-sized album, but they have aimed to present a duality. “Humanity has two roads to go down, one where we deal with the problems that face us as a civilisation and one where we don’t,” they have stated. ‘Paris I’ is a soundscape for the happier of these roads.
Opening track ‘Asc. Scorpio’ showcases many of the best aspects of Oracle Sisters’ sound. It’s full of poetic and abstract lyricism (“An elephant in hunger, a power grid and thunder”). and sits coolly above an understated but perfect drum beat and warm vocal harmonies.
‘The Vibes’ is another stand-out moment, its moodiness is welcome chaneg-up from the otherwise calming melodies. The vocals are the EP’s finest, using all three members’ stunning and varied voices which range from high falsetto to charming tenor, creating enchanting harmonies and textures. The disregard for conventional structures allows the song to follow its own spirit, subtly morphing as it goes. ‘High Moon’ switches vocally, with Julia Johanssen taking the lead, and the song remains tender and ethereal.
Collectively, ‘Paris I’ is adventurous and unique, offering plenty to ruminate over in words and instrumental. The sense of euphoric peace at the core of the record can be felt on all the tracks, while the instrumentation offers complexity but is never a mess of guitars and vocals. For a band firmly producing chilled and laid-back folk-pop, there’s no hiding the ambition and ability in their songwriting.
- Release date: July 8
- Record label: 22TWENTY