There are many lead singers who wail and moan on a track with their hearts on their sleeves. It’s nothing new or original, it's done to sell records and help a listener relate to a song emotionally. However it’s up to the listener to believe whether what the singer is crying out is true or not…it's not so much that is has to be true, it's just that the listener needs to play along with the the heartbreak fantasy and the failing romances that an artist is lulling over.
Then there's Brad Oberhofer and his band, creatively titled Oberhofer. Some would think this is pretty stupid or arrogant, a lead singer naming the band after himself must mean he's pretty cocksure. The truth is, Brad Oberhofer seems like the complete opposite. The music represents a young man still growing up, scared of commitment, wary of rejection and most of all haunted by heartache from previous lovers. Oberhofer is a way of getting all this out, it’s a way of venting it with the help of a band. And you can tell the band has full faith in its frontman to deliver tales of squashed love over the epic sounding symphonies displayed in minor chords.
It's how Time Capsules II is presented and constructed which is so impressive- its shell is grand and orchestral indie pop, but inside there is true heart and emotion. Normally bands or artists have one or the other, or sometimes neither. It's rare to see a debut act's album produced in such a grandiose style but still remain heartfelt and personal. Vocals could be easily lost in amongst the big production but Oberhofer's surfy-styled twang sails over the instruments like a lonely boat with nowhere to go. It's not anger in his voice, it’s desperation, which makes his vocals even more moving. His sombre and reclusive tone seems genuine; not prefabricated like you would occasionally get from new artists looking for attention trying to make a name for themselves.
So does this mean the whole album is one depressing love fest? It’s actually not, as there are some really up beat danceable tracks. Just because Oberhofer's lyrical content is something you'd find in an offbeat romantic indie drama, it doesn't mean the instrumentation follows suit. The second track in titled 'Landline' is a little indie pop gem, containing a ridiculously catchy hook and some twinkling guitar. 'Cruisin' FDR' is pretty much the same too, but less twinkle and more crunch. It just shows that Time Capsules II is more than just doom and gloom, there are rays of sunshine that peak through Brad Oberhofer's dark clouds.
When it comes to the end of the album, the penultimate track 'Haus' is more of a ballad than anything else. At over five minutes, It’s the longest song on the album. It kicks off with a guitar melody that will make you sit and stare into space, a riff that's guaranteed to ransack your brain for thoughts you buried in the back of your mind. This is the formula of Oberhofer's appeal though, the music, his lyrics are created to tug at your heartstrings. There is not one song on this album that a listener can't relate too, whether it’s the saddening piano driven 'HEART' or the heart churning lyrics of 'Away Frm U'.
Some people maybe put off at how personal Time Capsules II feels and then others will welcome how close you can get to this album when listening through it. It's a thinker’s album, an album that will make you stop whatever you're doing to just sit down and let all sorts of memories flood back into your brain. An album designed for indie sweethearts, broken romances or kids in their bedroom trying to swoon a future love unsuccessfully.
Oberhofer takes you to somewhere we've all been at some time in our lives.