Oh Wonder - '22 Break'

7/10

Ever since they first emerged with their brilliant self-titled debut album in 2015, Oh Wonder's Anthony and Josephine Vander West have never been ones to make their personal relationship the focus of their music. In fact, for a long time, many of their fans were unaware of their committed and romantic relationship to one another as it was never really disclosed in both their music and interviews. But after a troubling year and with lockdowns affecting their mental health, they have now come out of the shadows to detail their recent troubles on their fourth full-length '22 Break', a rare break-up record with a light at the end of the tunnel.

While things eventually worked out for the couple, recently tying the knot in August this year, '22 Break' aims to chronicle the difficult experiences that they shared moving through the pandemic. The duo's loneliness, inadequacy, resentment, and fears for the future quickly became heightened by the last year and forced them both to find a way through on this new release. While it still features plenty of that bright and euphoric Oh Wonder direction we are used to, there is a clear sense of uncertainty threaded throughout this new collection, giving these raw emotions a more palpable feel and creating a truly engaging listen from start to finish.

While many of us are probably glad to see the end of 2020 and its bubbling anxiety, '22 Break' also shows us that only through adversity can we truly appreciate what we have. In the end, the lockdowns gave us all a chance to focus on the life decisions we had made by confronting them head on, and this new record perfectly illustrates the joy of realising you made the right choice.

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