Alternative | Indie
I recall it being through a Facebook ad, but the 2020 track “Monsterpiece” was how I was first introduced to Alternative DJ and singer Raf Rundell. Eventually, this track became one of the many memorable singles of 2020 for me, with its hazy, sunny, and upbeat energy, that just really projected a feel-good vibe for me.
Fast-forward to this week just gone, and we receive the sophomore album from Raf Rundell, and the first full project I would’ve listened to from the artist, titled O.M. Days. Somehow, someway, the other three teaser tracks towards this new album (one released towards the end of 2020, and the other two released earlier in 2021), had completely slipped past me. That being said, “Monsterpiece” was all that I had to go on, in regards to what I could expect from this project. Nevertheless, I was excited to see what this musical adventure had to offer, and I hurried in, wearing the hope that it would expand upon that warm energy that “Monsterpiece” brought to the table.
As I began to venture into O.M. Days, greeted by this albums opener “More U Know”, I set myself up with the feeling that this album carried that kind of cosmic indie-rock vibe that the likes of Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds were trying to champion in recent years. However, the further I went into this album, the more I cam to appreciate the stylistic versatility it has to offer. From the tribal sounds that add a subtle power to “Ample Change” to the almost Tyler, the Creator-esque production on “Always Fly”, each track does indeed feel different. They admittedly didn’t quite feel as well-blended together as on an album like Genesis Owusu’s Smiling with No Teeth, but when you focus on the vast majority as standalone singles, there feels like there’s a lot to enjoy on O.M. Days.
And speaking of an emphasis on singles, I do believe that O.M. Days does carry some similarities to Gorillaz in quite a few ways. Along with Rundell’s own vocals sounding aesthetically similar to Damon Albarn, the overall quirk of many of the beats this album offers, along with a fair few featured artists as well, I reckon it’s safe to say that you may like this project a lot if you’re a Gorillaz fan.
And while most of the tracks on this thing hit the mark, for one reason or another, there are a select few ones on O.M. Days that unfortunately just didn’t achieve that with me. Namely these were tracks like “Miracle”, which feels like it was trying too hard to be ambient and abstract, or “Luxury”, which definitely could’ve been more unique than simply being your standard retro electronic beat.
Other than that minor thing, however, I would say that Raf Rundell did a pretty smashing job with O.M. Days, especially in terms of introducing me to his versatility, as well as his ability to create a range of moods in a highly immersive way. I imagine this album to potentially be a bit more under-the-radar than the more commercial albums I’ve reviewed this year, so please do check it out, especially if you want an atmospheric range of vibes to set you up for the summer.
Favourite Tracks: Monsterpiece | Always Fly | Turning Tides
Least Favourite Track: Miracle
Heavenly Recordings | [PIAS]
Enjoyment: 8/10 | Memorability: 7/10 | Atmosphere: 8/10
Uniqueness: 8/10 | Satisfaction: 7/10 | Narrative: 6/10