Friday, August 12, 2022

Ollie Cook releases indie-folk fusion album ‘The Boy with Pearls for Eyes’

Up-and-coming artist Ollie Cook marks his first release of 2022 with ‘The Boy with Pearls for Eyes’; an album packed with self-reflection and carefully woven story-telling. 

Originating from Wolverhampton, Cook is a self-proclaimed “DIY Alternative Rock/Folk artist”, which is evident in his work. In this latest creation, Cook demonstrates his favouritism for the guitar whilst also showcasing his ability to mix up his use of tempo and mood. 

In the heavily acoustic ‘The Boy with Pearls for Eyes’, Cook creates a wild listening experience for headphone users, often producing trippy or surreal effects through his sound. 


Kickstarting the album is the track ‘Pearls’ which immediately sets that acoustic folksy vibe. The guitar is the main focus of the song with a sprinkling of vocals here and there. When singing, Cook’s voice is emotive and cleverly layered to create a unique listening experience. Track four, ‘Completely (To Me)’, somewhat of a love song, creates a similar experience for headphone users. This song is just as slow and sweet as the first and even uses effects to create a vintage sound to Cook’s vocals. The lyrics are what top this song with likes of lines like “Tell me your darkest secrets, baby”; deeming the song a poetic plea to be consumed and validated by the love interest. 


Mixing the tempo up slightly, Cook also throws in upbeat tracks ‘Apocalypse Now’ and ‘Plush Theatre’ which demonstrate his ability to switch up the mood. Track two, ‘Apocalypse Now’ is still guitar driven but has a far more cheerful tone, similar to the sound and style of The Kooks. Whilst this track is all about “being real”, the upbeat tempo shouldn’t mislead the aim of the song as it includes lyrics such as “I’m perfectly OK with staying in and rotting away”. Leading on, track three ‘Plush Theatre’ is another similar-sounding self-reflective tune that maintains that upbeat nature whilst still sticking to Cook’s guitar-heavy roots. 


Cook then finds a middle ground between his upbeat tracks and his slower ones with the likes of ‘He Loves Him’ and  ‘To be A God’, both of which sway towards more of an indie sound whilst having quite a placid tempo. ‘He Loves Him’ contains more of a contemporary indie sound than the previous tracks and whilst slightly slower, still maintains a brightness to it. On the other hand, ‘To Be A God’ is one of the more experimental tracks, even including a hint of a banjo.


Other tracks such as ‘Cowboy Boots’, ‘Maggie’ and ‘Everything, Explained’ take root in a slower, acoustic, more chilled vibe. They each contain more of a cinematic feel to them, making them the perfect contenders for an indie movie soundtrack. 


The album ends on a more solemn note, with the penultimate track ‘Bell Tower Blues’ appearing to cover themes of loss, feeling lost and a general sense of hopelessness which is depicted in lyrics such as “take me back to a time I used to know”. Whilst the track picks up in tempo slightly halfway through, it still feels raw and slow which is intensified by Cook’s close and intimate vocals. 


The final track, ‘Please Let Go’, is definitely the darkest track, exposing the experience of being held back by someone/something; “This isn’t love, it’s an ambulance in a scrap yard”. Whilst this exposition on pain ends the album on a sadder note, it showcases Cook’s excellent songwriting and his ever-present ability to create a certain tone and mood. 


Needless to say, this release was definitely well-received and only creates further excitement for Cook’s future endeavours in the music industry. 


Aneesha Kalia


Image: ‘The Boy with Pearls for Eyes’ Official Album Cover

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