The size of a really, really, really small symphony orchestra, Ollie West & The Wildflowers is an intriguing 14-piece band (excluding Ollie). Having grown up with the music of The Beatles and Billy Joel, Ollie West has a background in rock and roll; however, he chose to take combine these early influences with classical elements resulting in a refreshing, unique sound.
Previously known as The Ollie West Band, Ollie and his group are now performing as Ollie West & The Wildflowers. Not entirely sure why the change in name, but the Manchester-based group still produce a soothing, innovative sound. Led by the 23-year-old singer-songwriter, producer and pianist, the band use a classical approach to songwriting with a more contemporary vibe. The latest addition to their repertoire is ‘Shelf Life’.
Penned by Ollie in a Tesco delivery van, ‘Shelf Life’ touches on personal experiences with anxiety; however, it also explores hopefulness and optimism. Aptly recorded during the UK Covid-19 lockdown, the track embraces the idea of remaining at home and surrounding oneself with significant things and people – a bit of an alternate representation to living in lockdown. Instead of talking about “pandemic cabin fever”, Ollie West & The Wildflowers embrace the benefits of remaining at home (and we’re not talking about over-indulging in comfort food and not changing out of your pyjamas for days).
Following the release of their debut album Time Stood Still, ‘Shelf Life’ is four minutes of captivating and comforting folk-rock. Ollie’s warm and heartwarming dulcet tones merge effortlessly with the soothing instrumentation. What I find endearing is how the clever arrangement of the melody enhances the positive lyricism.
While ‘Shelf Life’ may not be as upbeat as previous singles ‘The Ballad of Richard and Sophie’ or ‘Hearts of Gold’, it retains the group’s moving, distinctive and beguiling sound. It’s like lying in a field of wildflowers, feeling a cool breeze across your face and succumbing to the hypnotic haze – that’s ‘Shelf Life’.