Oso Oso joyously break pattern on “all of my love”

By Max Cohen

Oso Oso is soft launching their next album Life Till Bones which is supposedly set to release Aug. 9. Last month the band gave us a first taste with lead single “all of my love,” an upbeat pop tune with a terminally catchy chorus. Following their last LP, the broad ranging and often tragic Sore Thumb, “all of my love” is a welcome return to the buzzy summer emo of The Yunahon Mixtape and Basking in the Glow. But there’s something distinct at the core of the track that sets it apart from lead songwriter Jade Lilitri’s typical sound.

It feels harsh to say, but the fact is most Oso Oso songs sound a lot alike. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing — Lilitri’s found his niche in listenable, mid-tempo bangers with a simple, meditative perspective on the power of love. His sensitive, straightforward approach to rock and roll lets his band straddle a broad audience of long haired teens and millennial critics who grew up on Death Cab. Most of their catalog rules, but sometimes his consistency can be a little tiring. Their sameness is no more apparent than on Oso’s debut, Real Stories of True People Who Kind of Looked Like Monsters, which mushes together into one long song.

Even when Lilitri ventures outside of his punk sensibilities for more oddball cuts like “Father Tracy,” he can’t shake his Long Island whininess or clear devotion to pop structure. A huge chunk of Oso tracks follow a standard format of verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, big anthemic outro with a hook even catchier than the chorus (see: “gb /ol h/ nf,” “Where You’ve Been Hiding,” “sunnyside,” “dig,” “De Facto,” etc). 

What’s exciting about “all of my love” is how it breaks this canon pop pattern. The single says all it needs to in basically one verse and chorus; it’s joyously brief and packed with eclectic little earworm moments without losing the plot. In just over two minutes there’s a dance beat, call and response vocals, a fuzzy bass breakdown and one-off drum machine handclaps. It’s light and silly but evocative, with simple lyrics elevated by Lilitri’s coy, longing delivery.

In a lot of ways this subtle turn in Oso Oso’s sound is reminiscent of their D.C. peers The Obsessives who specialize in short, oblong pop rippers (and are seriously due for another album). The quicker tempo and more jagged guitar riffs recall their wonderful 2017 self-titled record, and some cross pollination between the bands would make sense considering Lilitri recently lent vocals to Obsessives drummer and co-writer Jackson Mansfield for his new single, “Cherry Pit.”

If the rest of Life Till Bones sounds like “all of my love” it’ll be the perfect sunshine-y emo for the season. Their low effort marketing and quick turnaround on the record’s mix hopefully indicate a breezier, more immediate album. But who knows, Lilitri might lean further into the psychedelic genre bending of Sore Thumb instead. For now the single can live on repeat and scratch that Obsessives itch.

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