'Twilights of the Weary Soul' is the second EP release from Oosterdok, the electropop duo of Jay Line and Becky Naylor. It follows swift on the heels of their debut 'Some Day We Will Part Forever', which reviewers described as "...a marvellous debut" and "...one of the most memorable debut EPs that I've ever heard" (go to the band's website for links to reviews).
For the band, the second EP marks a significant step forward: "The first EP was really the first time we were let loose in the studio," explains Jay. "It captures perfectly where we were at the time - there's a certain naivety to it - but the second EP is far more accomplished in terms of song writing, performance and production." Singer Becky agrees, "With 'Some Day We Will Part Forever' Jay and I were still finding our way, both musically and in our relationship within the band." Only seven months later, the follow up, 'Twilights of the Weary Soul' still retains elements of the Depeche Mode and Ladytron influenced sound from the first EP but takes it further with live orchestral sounds and a darker, increasingly raw soundscape reminiscent of Joy Division and early Human League.
Of the band's sound, Jay says: "Inevitably we are filed under electro pop or synth pop, and it's not a label that I would shy away from. To my mind, though, it is not that we are pro synthesiser, but rather that we're against any sonic restrictions being placed on us. When I'm writing music, I imagine all kinds of sounds...the only limit is my imagination. So to then restrict ourselves to guitar, bass, and drums when we come to record doesn't make any sense." It is a philosophy that is echoed by Becky and is clearly core to the band: "Although my background is more acoustically orientated, I've always been fascinated by anything which makes an interesting sound. So far I've learnt to play clarinet, piano, saxophone and penny whistle, but my 'instrumental wish-list' is endless! And similarly with Oosterdok I wouldn't rule out any sound or style in the future if we felt it was appropriate to the song". Becky's musical influence and training is increasingly evident throughout the record, but particularly so in the string arrangement for 'Elysium'. It is this developing relationship between the two band members that is leading Oosterdok towards a more coherent sound, as demonstrated in the assured and stylish tracks on the new EP.
Thematically, Twilights is more overtly dark than its predecessor, reflecting as it does what was a particularly difficult time in the personal life of each band-member: "I don't think we'll remember the 'Twilights...' period very fondly," remarks Jay, "Though we are very proud of it. I think all the crap that happened around the same time as making the record will make us stronger as a band."
The pair started the group after Jay coaxed Becky into the studio to sing one of his songs. A songwriter and producer, Jay had been looking for a singer for sometime - occupying himself in the meantime by doing the occasional film soundtrack - when he met Becky in a bookshop. Despite nearly coming to blows over the last copy of a sought after book, they got chatting and soon discovered a mutual passion for pancakes, foreign films, and most importantly, music.
Becky was already working free-lance as an actor-musician, but with her performance on 'Highuponahilltop' she showed her singing talent on the very first take. "By the middle eight and last verse and chorus, she was just flying..." said Jay, "...she just understood straight away what the song was about." The two formed the band Oosterdok (pronounced as it's spelt: Oo - ster - dok) and produced four songs, showcasing Jay's poetic, cerebral style of song writing and Becky's stunning vocals, which became their EP 'Someday We Will Part Forever,' released in March 2005.
The band are planning to record more material in the not too distant future, with live shows also in the pipeline.