Oliver Tree: Ugly Is Beautiful

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Mr Tree is new to us. Wikipedia informs us that he is in fact Oliver Tree Nickell, singer-songwriter, producer, rapper, comedian, and filmmaker. He has said he would retire as soon as this debut was released and plays a character, Turbo, though the track 1993 apparently refers to an alien called Little Ricky ZR3, which fans (and he has many, due to his memes) speculate might be his new character.

As an album – rather than some going life-as-art project – it’s not bad. It sounds like a lot of music you’ve heard of before without it being obvious, and straddles several genres. In places it sounds a little Darwin Deez, though it’s more beefy than Mr D. Muscular indie, with some electro-pop.

The opener Me, Myself and I is not bad, a radio-friendly tune that sounds a little lo-fi meets electronic garage. 1993 is next, a more synthy tune with a big beat. Tree distorts his vocals a bit which means that while 1983 and the next track Cash Machine are different musically, the vocals make them sound a little samey.

Let Me Down is next – a fairly standard electro-pop tune with a decent beat – but being let down seems to be a theme of the album, whether by the need for money in Cash Machine or more abstract feelings of letting yourself down.

In places it gets pretty good: Miracle Man is a good pop tune and one of the more Deez-like tracks, Alien Boy, is fun, as the Alien threatens to eat everything and everyone, including the beat.

The album is maybe a little long – some songs such as Bury Me Alive or Jokes on You get a little whiny, which Tree masks by playing them loud – and there’s nothing to make you think classic, but as a slick and solid electro-pop album, it’s entertaining enough.

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