Since Oscar cropped up as part of DIY’s Class of 2016, he’s made a name for himself. Expertly coupling that velveteen baritone croon of his with an endless trunk full of neon-hued Disney t-shirts, the North Londoner is the country’s leading specialist when it comes to beaming pop tunes served sunny side-up. And whether he’s ‘Breaking His Phone’ or whispering sweet nothings and ‘Beautiful Words’ in a special someone’s ear, there’s no raining on Oscar Scheller’s parade of bittersweet jangly joy.
On last year’s Beautiful Words EP, Oscar Scheller cemented himself as indie’s new boy next door. He came across like a helpless romantic, channeling his misfortune into feel-good pop singalongs, with fresh-faced melodies so sweet and innocent they knocked on your door with Tesco tulips in one hand and a box of chocolates in the other, as they promised your parents they’d have you home by eight o’clock at the latest. Oscar provides the very same sweet melodies here on Cut and Paste, his debut full-length album, but they come served with a cheeky wink and the invitation to slip into something more comfortable.
Following a string of singles for Brown Rice Records and Wichita, Oscar's aptly named debut album Cut and Paste celebrates his flair for pastiche. His freewheeling combinations and juxtapositions of indie pop, dub, hip-hop, synth pop, and Brit-pop recall the most musically omnivorous experimenters of the '90s, as well as contemporaries like Dinner and Tom Vek. Oscar's singles remain some of Cut and Paste's brightest highlights: "Sometimes," with its buzzy, Blur-ry keyboards and clap-along choruses, is still an incredibly addictive earworm, along with the like-minded "Breaking My Phone," which piles on mid-'90s hip-hop beats, grungy guitars, and outer space synths for good measure.
Britain's indie scene has rarely felt more more low-stakes than it does right now. The UK albums chart is full of iconoclastic British acts—Radiohead at #1, Skepta, James Blake, Anohni—with very few of them plying their trade on guitar. Even trad-lad bands like the 1975, Catfish and the Bottlemen, and Blossoms have seen the smart money and embraced their boyband potential rather than doggedly committing to life in the indie trenches.
Pop music is serious business these days. Gone are the cheese-saturated, summery vibes of the mid-to-late noughties and in their place are darkened, moody efforts that happily sit alongside the indie artists that once mocked them. Oscar Scheller is a London-based songwriter with a flair for composing damn good pop songs. Cut And Paste is his first full-length, offering a promising array of catchy hooks that will certainly get him noticed.
Oscar Scheller is armed with heart-throb looks and sugary hooks. If it wasn’t for Oscar Pistorius and the Academy Awards rendering his name ungoogleable, not to mention the difficulty of staying afloat as an independent act in 2016, the London crooner’s career would seem preordained. His debut album belligerently establishes this art school boho’s fey Britpop status: he pummels his songs with dandyish imagery, an adversity to laddishness (“Tell me who I should support / Red team, green team?”) and a tendency for lovestruck melodrama (“Then I see your face and I want to die”).
‘Breaking My Phone’, hooked around the delicious refrain “I keep on breaking my phone after I’ve spoken to you”, recalls Elastica’s booming ‘Connection’ with a modern, melancholy twist. Sunny but sorrowful tracks ‘Be Good’ and ‘Feel It Too’ are layered with irresistible calypso guitar licks. ‘Fifteen’ sounds like a sickly, saccharine love song until you listen to the words of the swooning, swelling chorus: “Then I see your face and I want to die/It’s how you make me feel”.