Album Review: Odd Soul - Movies EP | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Album Review: Odd Soul – Movies EP

Music critic Jonah Corren is impressed by the eclectic debut EP of student-soul sextet Odd Soul

University of Birmingham based pop-jazz six-piece Odd Soul have finally dropped their debut EP Movies, and it’s certainly worth the wait. Stretching its ambitions across the band’s diverse genre reach, the record has definite high and low moments, but overall is a strong and enjoyable effort.

The mood places 'Movies' squarely on a Broadway stage and the instrumental seems to have a narrative of its own
Movies’ title track is its most ambitious, stretching to an almost seven-minute runtime. The song begins with a theatrical verse-chorus section, followed by a sweeping instrumental that builds to a soaring guitar line and a final reflective verse outro, with an even more reflective jazz piano solo to close. The piece certainly is the embodiment of its title, with the lyrics constantly referencing show-business, the mood placing the song squarely on a Broadway stage and the instrumental seeming to have a narrative of its own.

The highlight of Movies is its second track, ‘Shire’. The song opens with a very jazzy, catchy piano line and a lovely vocal, the latter of which perhaps could benefit from being slightly louder in the recording. Throughout the lyrics of ‘Shire’ are littered several melodic hooks, such as the repeated ‘Give you too much happiness’, as well as the excellently written chorus, that constantly give the ear something to latch onto, and make the song irresistibly catchy. As for the musical sections, first is an effortlessly bluesy piano solo that has an almost spontaneous feel, then a classic ‘call and response’ section with the guitar and drums. The song ends with a second soaring guitar line in two tracks, bowing out to crashing cymbals at its last, as if the EP itself is pausing to take a well-needed breath.

Big Smoke (Interlude) signals the EP’s significant change in tone for its second half. Whilst ‘Movies’ and ‘Shire’ showcased the band’s jazzier talents, ‘Interlude’ feels like it could be a Calvin Harris B-side, with a repeated piano line being steadily accompanied first with an electronic drum-beat, and then more and more soundboard style effects. At points in the song, one can imagine it being the backing track for someone to rap over.

'BDBBD' is a similarly poppy outing, with a choral section featuring instrumental use of vocals
The strongest of the pop efforts of Movies is certainly its first, ‘Plywood’. This song sees a descending guitar line paired with a contrasting vocal, breaking down into a musically light chorus with catchy lyrics (‘these things/ don’t worry, me worry me, worry me like they should’). The double-tracked vocal here adds to the song’s pop identity, as does the track’s 'Middle 8': a single, repeated lyric, leading into a far rockier guitar solo than the previous tracks have sported. 'BDBBD', the final track of the EP, is a similarly poppy outing, with a choral section featuring instrumental use of vocals, and an ending guitar line that has a slightly odd, almost Bollywood feel.

One leaves Movies feeling perhaps that Odd Soul’s best work lies in a leaning towards their jazzier side, though that may differ according to genre preference. Regardless of your taste in music however, Movies is a strong first effort for the UoB band, and hopefully this EP will springboard them onto a full album in the near future.

'Movies' is available for purchase via Odd Soul's Bandcamp.


8th February 2018 at 9:00 am

Images from

Ellie Koepke