Thursday 8 November 2012

RFT Music Reviews: Josh Osho - The John Doe EP

Lyrics: 4.6/ 5.0 - Production: 4.3/5.0 - Overall Score: 4.4/5.0

Review by Reesh - Follow me on Twitter! I won't bite! Well, maybe a little - @MrReesh

Josh Osho is underrated. Like come on. Come on. Sure the young South-Londoner may not have released that much so far but his latest release, The John Doe EP is nothing short of great, and should be downloaded to the point where your internet provider has to call you up to stop you, you know, breaking the internet.

John Richmond (jk, it's actually Josh!!!)
The John Doe EP is essentially a heartfelt message to its listeners from Osho, a seven song tribute to life, death, beauty and probably most of all love, set against a strong acoustic instrumental that gives the EP an undeniably personal feel. Now let’s get this out of the way – he sounds a lot like an English John Legend – John Richmond if you will. But while that’s an inescapable fact that you will pick up on, that doesn’t mean that Josh isn’t unique. His voice is amazing, a true joy to hear and when he flips the switch on that vibrato? Boy. It’s a madness.

Each of the songs here have definitely earned the right to be there. I loved The Clichés, a heart-warming song about being so in love you actually lose the ability to describe that love in anything but clichés. Here Josh’s voice fits so perfectly into the warm fuzzy glove that is the arpeggio guitar background and beautiful lyrics, that you can’t help but imagine yourself meeting your true love on a summer’s day, lookin’ at you with them slow motion, sunset coloured Love Actually eyes. Additionally the titular track, John Doe stands out not only for sounding totally different instrumentally, but because it challenges you to forget the labels you or others may attach to you in order to find out who you really are. In fact, one of the greatest things about the EP is the lyrics, which Josh uses superbly to convey emotion and paint a scene, all the while not straying outside of the feeling each backing melody has.

When I realised I was singing Cheryl Cole I was like
The two covers on the EP (Call My Name, Cheryl Cole; Could You Be Loved, Bob Marley & The Wailers) provide further icing on the John Doe EP cake. Osho really manages to bring the lyrics of both songs to the forefront, and while he is clearly trying to convey his own message in not only song choice but how it is sung, he does so in such a way that you’re still able to come up with your own interpretations and find your own meanings. I myself felt very much duped when I realised that I was singing along  to a cover of Cheryl Cole’s vomitpop single Call My Name, though it really allowed me to see the depth in a song many may overlook as basic dance floor fodder. Additionally Could You Be Loved strongly conveys a message that somewhat echoes that of John Doe earlier on: to really know who you are and not be defined by the labels of others.

Saying that, my experience not perfect. I personally found Even In War a bit too folk songy for me, and while The Last Letter was very powerful in terms of its lyrical content, vocally it lacked a real feeling of energy or emotion that left it underwhelming. And that’s just the thing, on some songs you can’t help but feel as though Osho is playing it safe with his voice, choosing to save his most impressive vocal flairs for subsequent works. However what he does here he does incredibly well and at some points the approach works perfectly, like in The Clichés where it feels as though Josh has tried to avoid using clichés, but has now settled on it as the only course of action.

Listen you: download The John Doe EP. It’s seven very high quality songs from a very high quality artist and for goodness sake, it’s free. While it may take a few listens for you to truly get the effect of the lyrics, it’s definitely worth it and a hell of a lot of fun to do. Plus the future is bright for our Joshy boy – jump on the hype while you still can!

Josh Osho on Twitter: @JoshOshoMusic

My Top 3:
1) The Clichés
2) John Doe
3) Could You Be Loved

You can download the EP here (click "start here to download from Sendspace)
or if that doesn't work, try here (mixtape-madness account required)

Photo credit: Lili Vieira de Carvalho "OMG!"

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