Over the last few months, Allan Hill has been enchanting us all with his singles, delivering a string of warm and wonderfully compassionate indie-folk tracks that shine with self-awareness. With each release, Allan has built a unique creative vision, outlining the framework for his gorgeous sophomore album, the undeniable ‘Oxford’.
Cast in a similar vein to legendary artists like Elliott Smith and Sufjan Stevens, ‘Oxford’ is an album of profound and delicate moments, capitalising on human moments and fragile emotive passages. Built on minimalistic melodies that form from warm synths, gentle banjo, fingerpicked guitars and stark, revealing vocals, ‘Oxford’ is a release that embodies every frustration our isolated and divided age has imparted.
From the very beginning, tracks like ‘Angell Woods’ shines through discordant keys and subtle synth, adding depth to the melody and breaking down all walls early on. Elsewhere, ‘This Time of Year’ and ‘The Alexander’ strip things down to the bare essentials, revelling in simple guitar and haunting vocals, before ‘66’ and ‘Three Hundred Thousand’ arrive with a more embellished sound through nuanced banjo strings and distant piano keys.
All throughout ‘Oxford’, there’s a gorgeous melodicism that balances each track, adding to the light production and earthy tones, allowing it to feel as natural as life itself. Speaking about the new album, Allan explained, “’Oxford’ delicately documents the process of starting over and coming to terms with solitude, guilt, and inevitable change in real-time. Impermanence is a common theme. Empty stretches of highway, late night phone calls, decaying suburbs, violence, tender conversations and flora and fauna are all intertwined to create an intimate yet isolating universe.”
More than just the sum of its parts, ‘Oxford’ is the sound of Allan finding his feet, combining gentle talent and blossoming elements with honest, succinct lyrics and joyous musical excursions. Definitely, an album to enjoy and experience, ‘Oxford’ is raw, rustic, and wonderfully real.
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