(SXSW 2018 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #404: ONR.

By on Tuesday, 27th February 2018 at 12:00 pm
 

Some of Britain’s musicians and bands have the unusual desire to hide their identities. As this isn’t really a thing here in America, I’ve always wondered why that was. I’ve been thinking about this more lately, considering that revealing who you are could potentially be devastating to any chance of upward mobility in the business. If you’re related to another famous artist, you run the risk of always being compared to that person: consider Pixie Geldof, the lead singer of Violet, or Jakob Dylan, Bob’s son. Maybe you’ve simply reinvented yourself under a new name and don’t want any of the baggage of your previous artistic efforts.

In an effort not to raise his ire and to keep things the way he wants them, I won’t unmask who Scottish electronic artist ONR. (pronounced “honour”) is, or who he used to play with. You can find this information online if you look hard enough. For now, enjoy the romantic air of mystery swirling around this up-and-coming songwriter whose face I hadn’t seen until last week. His anonymity is unlikely to last long: he’s signed to Capitol Records here, which suggests once he’s got an album ready to be released, we’ll be seeing his name and face around these parts much more often.

New music from ONR. has only been coming along as a teensy trickle. In 2017, he released his debut single, the brilliantly tense ‘Jericho’, described by the artist as “an old-fashioned protest song…it harbors a sort of gentle aggression throughout.” A slow-burning track, it takes the Biblical imagery of the River Jordan and being purified by the waters, before moving into more rhythmic, Depeche Mode-esque territory. In the instrumental bridge, booming synth notes skip across the keyboard, pairing complementarily with the intriguing backbeat. ONR.’s voice becomes an urgent shout, the song reaching a satisfying crescendo at its conclusion.

While follow-up single ‘Five Years Time’ has some similarities to ‘Jericho’, it’s still very much has its own identity. Its synth bombast will make any New Wave fan swoon. However, I think it’s the equal parts of vulnerability and sexiness in ONR’s voice that have the potential to cause mainstream music fans, never mind just the indie fans, weak in the knees. The lyrics seem ambiguous enough to me, as if he’s singing of human frailty and our vices, of the dark corners of our pasts and the anxiety of what will come in the future. “Is it simple, is it brave enough? / To go gentle into the cut?”

His newest single released this month, the cardiovascular workout ‘American Gods’, is ONR.’s love letter to the land of the brave. It begs the question, is he clairvoyant? Will ONR. soon be considered a musical god here in America following his live appearances at SXSW 2018? I’ll be standing by in Austin to see exactly what materialises.

As with all of the SXSW 2018 showcasing artists we feature here at TGTF, ONR.’s appearance in Austin is subject to change. We recommend that you consult the official SXSW Music Festival schedule for the latest information and updates.

Tags: , , , , ,

Leave Your Response

* Name, Email, Comment are Required
 
 
 

About Us

There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

All MP3s are posted with the permission of the artists or their representatives and are for sampling only. Like the music? Buy it. If you want a track removed, email us and we'll sort it ASAP.

E-mail us  |  RSS Feed   RSS Feed  

Learn More About Us