……Album Rating: 7.9 – Galactic love songs……
Once Around Saturn is the solo project of Dan Kelso who is based in Sydney. Since 2014, OAS has released several singles and debuted his EP this year. His style carry heavy influences from the 80s including Genesis, A-ha, Mr Mister, and many more.
“And patience is a virtue / Breaking against the fortress of love / I’m starry eyed” chants Amanda Easton in Once Around Saturn’s starry-eyed single “Fortress Of Love.” It is the second track of the Australian artist’s EP, These Promises, and exemplifies what you can call retro-future pop. Built on panoply of early 80s disco and modern cosmic pop, “Fortress Of Love” feels like a love song lost in time and space. The chorus may be hyperbolic, but the galactic aura that it exudes vibes with the dreamy words that Easton frames with her crispy voice.
From the opener, “Because Jennifer” featuring Glenn Whitehall and Amanda Easton, Once Around Saturn summons the spirit of cosmic pop – the only flaw is that he jettisons us into his melodic milky way with the EP’s weakest work. Despite the upbeat and wavy start that grasps your attention, “Because Jennifer” loses its appeal once you start delving into the lyrics. “My love is unconditional / I may be sentimental” chants Glenn Whitehall. The pairing of Whitehall and Easton create a smoky dynamic, but the rhyme scheme is overkill. It feels too forced and the cheesy, cliché lines like “My love is unconditional / I may be sentimental” lacks depth to atone for it.
But despite the opener, the rest of the EP delivers all the promises of an explosive star-gazing experience that the cover shows. “Titan Excursion is the most mind-stretching piece of the EP – it takes you to a spacious soundscape of enigmatic whispers and rhythmic monotony that keeps you in a meditative sphere. Instead of hitting high notes, OAS delivers his lyrics through conversational style and keeps everything in the mid-range. You feel like experiencing ASMR as the exhaling whispers tingle from the top your head down to your spine.
The final track “These Promises” featuring Glenn Whitehall is another chest-beating track where the soft ahhs echoing in the background take you to a celestial space. “Looking at the bright side / I won’t let you down again / If I can keep these promises to you” sings Whitehall. The words are sugary, but at the same time the melody exhibits he edginess of old school indietronica. Whether you want to marvel at a loved one or get lost in space, OAS takes you to a timeless soundscape through a 4-track odyssey.