Oscar Key Sung live

Marcus Thaine reviews one half of Oscar & Martin:

Everyone tuned in to the Melbourne/Aussie music scene would be familiar with Oscar & Martin. Their 2011 debut, For You was a work of wonky-pop genius. You’ll likely know their immediately affecting single, Recognise. What you won’t recognise (baddum-cha) or most likely be too cluey with, is the tunes of Oscar’s solo project, aptly named Oscar Key Sung.

I’ve been endlessly scrounging the internet and anxiously anticipating releases, so I wasn’t about to pass off the opportunity to catch Oscar playing some unreleased songs on the piano. I admit I didn’t mentally prepare for what turned out to be quite a private affair – playing to around 10 people in a warehouse in West Melbourne. But hey, it was Facebook official and 30 people were ‘attending’. And Facebook is everything… AMIRIGHT?

My awkwardness aside, the evening was a preview from the upcoming, and confirmed record (I’ve already pre-pre-ordered that shit). Sat in the centre of a ring of red velour pillows, in a sparse and dimly lit basement space was Oscar + Piano. We, all ten of us, were pre-warned that he was nervous and felt like “a fifteen-year-old with an acoustic guitar” and that this was little showcase wasn’t the norm. If you are familiar with Oscar Key Sung, you’d know that the songs sound like they really wouldn’t translate acoustically. Built up of stuttering R&B beats, and wrapped in synths loops and vocal delays it’s very much electronic music.

Scissor kick me with a synth; I know nothing about music. Every song worked so naturally and with such aching honesty that I now pray nightly for an acoustic album. From the standout subtle pop number of It’s Gone, to the set-closer which involved some hand clapping, chest slapping and A Cappella vocals, Oscar Key Sung makes music which moves his audience in an (and it must be true because normally I’d die rather than use this phrase) emotional way. Apparently one track even has a sax solo on recording, but still, sans sax it stood as organic and compelling.

It’s a rare opportunity to catch Oscar Key Sung live, and just like anything rare – maybe except Necrotizing fasciitis (a flesh eating bacteria) – it’s worth the time, value, and significance it upholds.


Review by Marcus Thaine. Photo by Elliott Lauren.