Oh Wonder have today shared a new track ‘Can We Always Be Friends?’, which is available now on Island Records. This comes ahead of the unique London band’s new album, 22 Make, which is due on October 7th. This was previewed by brooding first single ‘Magnificent’, the anthemic ‘Fuck it I Love You’ and the cinematic ‘True Romance’.
‘Can We Always Be Friends?’ was hastily reworked hours before Oh Wonder went on honeymoon. Having started life as a pop banger, they just knew it wasn’t quite right. With vinyl deadlines looming and the very real deadline of a flight to catch, they stayed up all night reworking it into the louche, after-dinner jazz number it is now. It’s a song that sums everything up for Oh Wonder, and the album completing their two-part, 22 Break project; that no matter what, the connection between these two people can never really end. “We’ve got too much love,” they sing. “You and me together to the end: can we always be friends?” An album like 22 Make will leave you in no doubt that the answer is yes.
22 Make unpicks a turbulent period in the incredible story of Oh Wonder. Its first half, 22 Break, dropped with little warning towards the end of 2021: here were universal themes (loneliness, inadequacy, resentment, fears for the future) as experienced by one couple in real-time, all blown up in the pandemic. Not many bands can make a break-up album that culminates in them tying the knot – but then again, Oh Wonder have never been like other bands. Coming out of 22 Break and all the soul-searching that it forced them to do, Josephine and Anthony got married and channeled all this into 22 Make: a whole new album soundtracking the light at the end of a tunnel.
“When we nearly broke up during the pandemic, we used music as a way out,” Oh Wonder write, introducing the project in its entirety. “We wrote all our pain, sadness and confusion into a collection of songs that we eventually released as the album, 22 Break. But for us, that was only half of the story. We managed to survive our rocky patch, and emerge stronger than ever and full of love for each other. It only felt right therefore, to write about the other side, where you realise not just that you’re meant for each other, but also that it also takes two people to make a love flourish. We are thrilled to be releasing ‘22 Make’, an album full of love and life-affirming songs that reflect on fate, gratitude and being there for someone.”
This transformative period continues Oh Wonder’s remarkable, homegrown success story. 2020’s acclaimed album No One Else Can Wear Your Crown continued a run of back-to-back top 10 albums from the band who have – on their own distinct terms – become one of UK pop’s more unsuspecting breakthroughs (2.7 billion streams, 1.7 million adjusted album sales, and vocal fans in the likes of Billie Eilish and Griff). Oh Wonder even founded and literally built from the ground-up the hugely popular Nola cafe in Peckham early on in the pandemic. Through opening up to their fans and each other, the ‘Make or Break?’ poised by ‘22 Break’ and ’22 Make’ appears not so much a question, as an active choice – to be as honest as possible, to move forward, and to begin a brand new chapter in the ‘True Romance’ of Oh Wonder.
Having played a huge world tour including a sold-out homecoming show at London’s Brixton Academy, Oh Wonder are pleased to also announce a run of Instore shows in far more intimate settings on top of the album’s release. “We are so excited to announce a handful of super intimate shows across the UK to celebrate the release of our new album 22 Make! RTE and Kingston are with our amazing band, and the other record shops are just the two of us with a piano, guitar and a bag of stories / bad jokes.”
‘22 Make’ Instore shows:
6/10 Rough Trade East
7/10 Vinilo, Southampton
8/10 Banquet Records x Pryzm, Kingston
9/10 HMV Birmingham10/9 RT Nottingham1
11/10 RT Bristol
12/10 Resident, Brighton