Review by Shannon Shumaker
Oso Oso’s Real Stories Of True People, Who Kind Of Looked Like Monsters reminds me of everything I love about late 90’s and early 2000’s punk and emo music. Clean, beautiful guitar tones, emotionally charged vocals and personal lyrics carry Real Stories Of True People, Who Kind Of Looked Like Monsters, making it hard not to feel connected to at least a couple of songs on the album.
I think the best thing about Oso Oso is that it’s something I haven’t heard in a while. As of lately, the punk and pop-punk scene has been dominated by strong, catchy and sing-along worthy choruses and memorable guitar riffs, and while there are definitely hints of that in this album, it seems that Real Stories is carried more so by big build-ups and clashing moments between pop and punk. A great example of this is in the album’s third anthematic song, “Another Night,” which is absolutely “sing-along with the windows down” worthy, but also builds and builds until the song comes to a fulfilling close. If you’re looking for something to compare Oso Oso to, there’s a little bit of Man Overboard in the passionate, nearly yelled chorus of “Another Night,” but then there are some obvious Brand New influences in the following track, “Where You’ve Been Hiding.”
There are strong small moments on this album, and similarly, it also hosts some strong big moments. The buildups in many of the songs are what make Real Stories strong - like in “Wet Grass,” as the song just seems to keep getting bigger and bigger (and prettier) before the end, or “Where You’ve Been Hiding,” when the track just seems to explode and come together with the chorus.
Upon my first listen of Real Stories Of True People, Who Kind Of Looked Like Monsters, I only really had one gripe, and that was in the production of the vocals. While the guitar tones are very crisp and clean, the vocals sound a little muffled. The vocals are easily one of the strongest aspects of the album, from the soft, poppy clean parts to the emotional breaking points, but I just wasn’t necessarily a fan of the production. Upon a few listens, though, it became very easy to overlook this a little, as the emotion of the vocals shone through a few cosmetic flaws by miles.
The great thing about this album is that it’s fun to listen to and youthful while still feeling mature at the same time. There are upbeat songs like “Another Night,” which is loud and explosive, and then there are other, more serious tracks such as the closing song, “This Must Be My Exit,” which is fairly simple musically, but carried heavily by strong, personal lyricism. It is also worth noting that the vocal harmonies throughout the entirety of this album are remarkable and well worth listening to more than once, which shouldn’t be a problem, considering how easy of a listen every song is. Real Stories Of True People, Who Kind Of Looked Like Monsters is a little bit of pop, a little bit of punk and a little bit of emo, and the result is an album that is unlike anything that has been released recently.
Listen to "Another Night" or "Wet Grass"