Review: No Oil Paintings- E.P ‘Too Close to the Sun’ 

Belfast based five piece, No Oil Paintings have enjoyed a busy and eventful few months of festivals and gigs. Starting the summer off with the release of their second E.P ‘Too Close to the Sun’ the band has had a continuously successful spell.  Forming in late 2013,’ No Oil Paintings’ is the musical collaboration of Chris Kelly (lead vocals, guitar), twin brothers Sean (vocals, guitar, 5-string banjo) & James Doone (vocals, bass guitar), and George Sloan (vocals, drums).

With such a diverse range of influences No Oil Paintings have managed to perfectly craft their signature sound since the release of their first self-titled E.P in 2015. After winning Chordblossom’s coveted ‘Last Slot’ competition only a short three years ago the band have since went on to headline a stage at this year’s Stendhal festival. A triumphant rise in such a short space of time, the boys have certainly worked hard to establish themselves and their style.

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The hypnotic beat of opening song ‘God Only Knows’ is an eclectic mix of instrumentation with lead singer Chris Kelly’s impassioned vocal. The strikingly powerful tone of Chris’s voice helps to carry the melody throughout. While, not usual to hear a banjo be the stand out instrument in a song it helps to accentuate the band’s country roots. It is a modern twist on a typical theme explored by country and folk music as No Oil Paintings have cemented their own sound from the get go. ‘God Only Knows’ is an excellent introduction to their E.P.

Despite, the band’s name NOil Paintings conjuring images of ugliness it is certainly a differing reality from the sound they’ve produced.  Their song Cut me is both dark and beautiful as it invokes a very melancholic atmosphere highlighting the bands versatility in their writing.  While already occupying a commanding vocalist in the form of Chris it is the different voices that you get to hear throughout the E.P helps to keep it fresh.

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All Our Woes allows the audience to hear impassioned melodic vocals alongside a very authentic kind of blues guitar and banjo, the perfect country rock fusion. The song develops into a pulsating crescendo of musical and vocal composition. One of the things that makes ‘No Oil Paintings so fascinating is how they easily transition from one style and mood to the next which they seem to do with little effort.

‘Icarus’ while starting slow builds in anticipation with rousing drums and spirited melodies. The lively atmosphere with the boy’s famous harmonies make this the perfect foot stomping song and the highlight of the E.P.  There is a specific authenticity that lead singer Chris voice exudes without effort, a quality that hard to come by.

Finishing off their remarkable E.P with the delightful ‘Different Light’. It is an 
eclectic chilled out song which shows the boys more tender songwriting style and prose. No Oil Paintings have managed to seamlessly blend their modern influences to create their own unique brand of country and folk. Striving to create something different with this E.P the boys have certainly achieved this throughout by focusing on each members strengths and shining a light on each of their talents when fitting.

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