3 Apr 2023

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Soaked Oats - Album Review: Working Title

11 Dec 2022 // A review by Callum Wagstaff
Soaked Oats is a Dunedin indie 4-piece. Working Title is their first full length offering, crafted over the last 18 months in a community hall in the remote township of Okuru, Haast, on the West Coast of the South Island. Their Ambition was to explore "the contrasting ways we perceive and interact with the world, how we define ourselves through work, And the subtle shift from viewing objects in the world as fixed ‘things’, to experiencing them as processes and interactions unfolding".

The first part of that mission statement comes through effectively in the first half from first track The Way it Works through to Something. There are characters in that first half like the cynical boomer of Behind Their Years and the idealistic little brother from Something who's intractable world views are both a product of and a reaction to a world described in the whirlpool of tones of The Way it Works and Headline Opinion's ratcheting key changes, which sound like if Bob Dylan was in Talking Heads. The picture they paint is a world full of noise and activity with dubious intrinsic value.
I feel like Soaked Oats want me to quit my job and join a commune.

Simple pleasures is the track that feels like the axis from which the songs stop being about what Soaked Oats escaped and start feeling like the remote place they spent their time recording. It undulates like a VHS warping. The second half is where the songs feel like a place, tracks like Pink Beach and Lake Ellery feature vocals that sound like mist, chords that sound like water and melodies that sound like bubbles.

It's less clear to me what they mean by the second part of their mission statement. Maybe viewing objects as a process means thinking about the entire life of a tree or something. Stubble on the face of the planet. D(a)emon has a ticking sound in it and it feels like the kind of revelation you'd have spending a lot of time at a deserted lake. The end of that track has a foreboding, almost nursery rhyme quality to it that sounds like 'everything dies and returns' typed stuff. The second half is less of a thesis than the first half, more of a collection of thoughts you might read in a book. Final track Day to Day has a last little section in the end where the main refrain is "I'm here for you. The stuff that you're made of I'm made of it too".

Working Title feels nearly chronological in its order. It starts like the band had 5 or 6 songs almost finished, went to record them over 18 months and found another 5 or 6 over that time. It's fun to get the impression an album might have changed the people that were making it, while they were making it, then had that reflected back into the music on that album.
Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About Soaked Oats

Soaked Oats are a young four-piece band that percolated into existence in Dunedin. Catapulted by their infectious and joyful shows and fast-evolving songwriting chops, the band's profile and fanbase are on a steep rise. 2019 saw the release of their most accomplished work to date, the Sludge Pop EP. The band's single Coming Up was discovered by indie-rock icon Sharon Van Etten who shared to her 90 thousand plus fans, the band were signed to Australian label Dot Dash (Methyl Ethel, Gabriella Cohen) and invited to play UK’s tastemaker festival The Great Escape. Sell-out shows across NZ and Australia and the UK throughout 2019 have the band excited for what is to come as they begin work on their debut album proper.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Soaked Oats


Working Title
Year: 2022
Type: Album
Sludge Pop
Year: 2019
Type: EP
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Stone Fruit Melodies
Year: 2017
Type: Album
No Slip Ups
Year: 2017
Type: EP

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