Jaime Sales is a 15-year-old that was born in Manila, Philippines but lives and grew up in Dublin, Ireland. oh boy is his debut album, a 12-track collection with basically just the singer/songwriter on guitar. The formula, though simple, really works. Though the tracks here on the album were for the most part on the melancholy side, Sales treated each track like it came from his own personal experience, taking ideas from books/films to better give them a sense of reality. It looks like Sales is only getting started and credits his sound to emulating such artists/Youtubers like Cavetown, Dayglow and Twooba.
oh boy begins with “one moment,” where right away the synths will hit you alongside the sound of rain falling. Next, the sounds of someone entering the house arrives. As this person shuffles around the house, you, the audience, are following them around. Eventually, the sound of rain falling outside is juxtaposed over the sounds of atmospheric acoustic guitar. The sound right away segues into the next track. Picking right off from where the intro left off, the chord progressions build on “Moon.” There was a melancholy sense to his singing and the sadness permeates the lyrics and music, feeling like an instrumental part of the sound. The chord progressions on “Baron” sees an uptick in pacing, sounding happier in mode than the previous song. Some beats then enter and Sales’ vocals come in feeling very emo-inspired. His singing comes across with a droning feel. The contrast of his vocals and music provided an interesting layer to his sound.
More sad lamenting is realized here on “the end (not).” Feeling very somber, this pensive track will leave listeners in a contemplative place. The guitar rhythms provided a soothing listening experience as Sales serenades us with his soft vocals. A meandering acoustic guitar melody erupts from the start of “happiness.” Gradually more synths and a drumming beat is added to the groove. The chord progressions on acoustic guitar become more upbeat and sunnier on “Fingertips.” There was a very intimate feel to the vocals and music. The music reminded me of Iron and Wine and The Postal Service. What sounds like xylophones added some unique instrumentation. There was a slow but steady feel to the music, then eventually it opened to a fuller band sound.
On “Lovers,” the sound of ocean waves is superimposed over a ‘50s and ‘60s pop feel. The sound of synths and beats sends out an infectious melody. There was a nice groove to the acoustic guitar as well that I thought was a change of pace from the melancholy moods previously. This seemed like a good pop-based sound to rock out to. On “Grown,” more acoustic guitar chord progressions sound out here. The music has a nice flow to it and Sales’ vocals had a soft resonance. The sound of rain falling returns here on “Thank You (Forgotten).” The heavy sounds of rain in the backdrop provides an adequate atmosphere as slowly the sound of acoustic guitar takes its place. The finger-picking on guitar makes for an introspective sound. Slowly building in vibe and melody, this is an instrumental sans vocal. The pensive guitar melody will surely grow on you the more you listen to it as Sales bids farewell.
A bedroom recording through and through, the album was recorded in Sales' bedroom and he handles everything himself, from the composing, writing, recording, producing and mixing and mastering. A lot of the tracks on this record were a little on the lo-fi end, but I did not think that his acoustic sound necessitated any big production flourishes. I thought as a result of the lo-fi-ness, this gave the album a more intimate and inside look into the performer. The songs on this album had a very thought-provoking singer/songwriter vibe that would make it great for a coffee shop ambiance.
My only critique is that for the most part, the songs on this album sounded similar. I thought that if the artist put in more variation into his sounds, this might help change things up a bit. With a whole lot to appreciate on this album, this proved to be a good debut to Sales’ sounds and I look forward to seeing more from him soon.
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