If Oh Wonder ever screamed, it would scream adorable.
The adorable singers sing adorable songs to adorable fans who all sway like adorable palm trees in the same adorable breeze whether it’s windy or not because it’s basically impossible to dance or rock out or move in a non-swaying way to Oh Wonder.
Not that that’s bad. Sometimes you feel like listening to something that’s not as edgy as, say, Coldplay. Some nights, you watch Notting Hill.
The British synth-pop duo, backed by a sneakily terrific rhythm section, drew a good crowd to their pre-dusk ACL Fest set on Sunday. The singer-songwriters Josephine Vander Gucht and Anthony West have been playing together for about a year and said they’d never played in Texas before the festival, but a lot of the audience still knew enough of the songs to sing along.
Oh Wonder’s songs lean on synthesizers that both of them play center-stage (West had a guitar around his neck the whole set) and rhythms that at least nod at jazz without alienating people who don’t like jazz. Their music is romantic the way Hugh Grant is romantic, dwelling on the brighter parts of relationships and sweeter moments of melancholy while keeping the darker, painful parts at arm’s length. Oh Wonder is not here to ruin your night.
In introducing the song “All We Do,” Vander Gucht explained that the track is meant to “celebrate the importance of being yourself … It’s important that we all believe that anything is possible, because everything is possible.”
If all of that sounds like a smooth-jazzier Up with People to you, well, you’re really not being fair.
Because as the sun started slipping toward the hills and the air cooled Sunday evening, Oh Wonder offered a balm to a crowd that had been trudging across the sun-drenched Zilker Park lawn for three days. When they cut their set 20-minutes short, people were genuinely disappointed — continuing to crowd the stage and applaud even as the crew began taking apart the stage.
“So sorry we couldn’t play longer,” Vander Gucht wrote on Twitter immediately afterwards to a few of Oh Wonder’s fans. “My voice is disappearing. We’ll be back soon.”
She signed each of the tweets with a little double-heart emoji.