Taking cues from the classic naming convention of bands from the 60’s and 70’s, Oscar Bryant and The Bluebirds don’t just call it a day there with these influences. Rather they take cues from classic rock & pop and jazz it up with some more modern sensibilities.
Starting off with Standing at The Altar, it’s a slower paced track, jam packed with some stand out moments from every part of the band. It puts The Bluebirds on display as their own entity, rather than just a backing band for Bryant. There’s this huge level of respect and cohesion as a whole band rather than two separate forces butting heads.
Standing at The Altar is soaked in classic rock feel, with twangy guitars and a fantastic crooning vocal performance that’s stuffed with longing and a wee bit of cheekiness. But then the modern swagger starts to creep in more with an energetic drum performance that manages to cram a few fast beats into an otherwise steady paced song.
There’s so much attitude and self-assurance built into the song that it’s hard to contain a smile or at the very least not let some visible admiration out. It’s a fantastic track that’s got a lot of energy behind it.
Getting into a quick fire breakdown, the guitars have this blues and Motown attitude and a brilliant solo in the back half. They bring a real feel and powerful attitude into the song. The drums as mentioned before, manage to break into some more intricate moments and blow the doors off a couple of times. Surprisingly enough, there’s a piano wrapped up in all this, pushing that blues feel even harder and just accentuating the song throughout before closing out the song with it’s own little moment.
The second single here is, The Luckiest Man. And at first it seems like it’s going to be a similar affair. That’s right up until the guitars really kick in. It’s much more rock’n’roll than blues, but still keeps thematically similar to Standing at The Altar, as a great companion piece. They’re really a double feature of tracks.
But The Luckiest Man isn’t just some afterthought, rather a deliberate flexing of more energetic musicianship. The guitar in particular is really pushed to the forefront with these huge and bombastic solo moments that have to be heard to really appreciate. They’re powerful, original, and really sell that throwback feel the band is going for.
That doesn’t mean that everything else is playing second fiddle though, the bass actually steps up a little more here, giving one of the most subtle and understated performances so far this year. It’s almost so subtle that it feels like it’s not there. Listen a little closer though and you realise it’s setting up so much for the rest of the band. The piano returns here as well, and could easily become a mainstay for the band given how well entwined it is and how much it accentuates the band’s unique feel.
The vocal performance over both these tracks is something that’s clearly inspired by numerous bands, from various musical eras. It’s one that gives an interesting feel and showcases talent without just phoning it in. It’s a little stilted at moments and isn’t afraid to show how Bryant has a unique singing voice and way of enunciating his words.
Overall, these two singles are definitely bringing back something a little different from times long gone. But by modernising and throwing their own twist into it, they’re selling something wholly unique and different from what a lot of bands are going for. On top of this, it shows how perfect a match Oscar Bryant and The Bluebirds were for each other, as a front performer and a fantastic band.