• STYLE /Synthpop, Outrun
  • RELEASE DATE /May 14, 2021
  • LABEL /NRW Records
  • GUESTSOllie Wride, Dana Jean Phoenix, Jon Campbell
  • DESIGNERS /Arkuma Hiyomoto, Jon Simo
  • FORMAT /Digital, Vinyl, CD, Cassette

RSW rating ➔

¦ 9/10 ¦
Fantastic LP

Our Few Words

The Scottish synth master Michael Oakley is about to drop his long awaited new album Odyssey.

This comes two years after his last album Introspect which we applauded for being one of the best synthwave releases in 2019. Oakley returns with his songwriting partner in crime, the very talented Ollie Wride, to deliver another one two punch knockout of a record ready to be slotted into our collections. We have access to Odyssey to see if it does live up to the high expectations we all have for it.

Odyssey starts off with the title track introducing you this synthetic ambience with a slight Oxygene meets soft rock vibe. Wake Up springs into life and if synthwave had it’s very own gospel then this would be the anthem to that make the place go crazy. Is There Anybody Of There, previously released as a single, is a mighty track that belongs on the airwaves and blasted through the speakers. Babylon has a more progressive approach with flutes and saxophones having their moments during the song.

Glasgow Song is a nice ballad homage to the Scottish city itself with Dana Jean Phoenix providing her vocal talents on the chorus. Real Life brings a more progressive element like Babylon; again with more saxophone (which is a win in our books) blaring through. Queen of Hearts, another previous single release, is ridiculously catchy and has Ollie Wride and Dana Jean Phoenix on backing vocals; If you haven’t listened to it already then we would suggest you should! When Stars Collide has a similar lovable drum beat like the intro to Africa by Toto, but it is a charmful ending to Odyssey.

Odyssey is experimental with the synthwave sounds especially with the drum beats and backing vocals. It’s a good change for Michael Oakley as Odyssey shows that once again he can pull out a top notch record from thin air. Some artists have a comfort zone of releasing songs in the same style, but it’s great that Oakley doesn’t do that. Whilst the synthwave sound is there it feels completely fresh and the genre keeps evolving with innovative records like Odyssey. The songwriting, production and musicianship is fantastic with this release and it is possibly our favourite Michael Oakley album so far.

– Matthew Clewley
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