Citing Glenn Hughes, Robert Plant, and Argentinean blues legend JAF as his main influences, Østera (his stage and performing name) was born Leandro Ostera Villalva on September 28, 1991 (which just so happened to be the birth of Confucius) in San Miguel, Tucuman, Argentina. The son of a local bluesman, he grew up with blues all around him. He formed his first band at the age of 13, gravitating towards rock and roll, progressive rock, and of course, blues. After a hiatus to pursue an engineering career, Østera decided to go after his long fervent passion and released The Home EP after 2 months of work in Odense, Denmark, with artwork by illustrator Emh (xtratospherie.tumblr.com). He is currently working on another EP in his hometown Tucuman, Argentina.
“The Home” contains the type of mature, self-assured music that is meaningful without being bombastic. Østera takes a simplistic, acoustic and organic approach rather than a high tech one, and it pays off. It’s also not boring or dull, which is a pitfall for most artists attempting to make an album like this one. There’s enough tempo changes, and musical variety to carry you through the entire 4 tracks on the Ep -and yes, Østera understands less is more here. He gets in and gets out in a timely manner.
Østera’s voice is excellent, his phrasing is precise, his vocal range ever-expanding, the lyrics are complex, literate and clever, and his melodies are beautiful. All this can be gauged from the gorgeous first track –“Broken Man”. Østera is his own musician and writer, he is not a superstar and his is not a well-known name, but this music appeals to me, mostly for the songwriting and his enjoyable vocal deliveries. If you like a good song, endearing singing and playing, I predict you will like Østera’s music. A strummed acoustic guitar is all that drives “Unlocked”, “Deam Nation (Sail Away)” and “Homesick” straight into your heart.
Anyone who enjoys raw acoustic recordings, that are wistful, expressive, and introspective will have no trouble latching onto “The Home”. Østera’s voice is powerful and transparent — which makes it suitable for some of the leaps, twists and turns to which his melodic lines subject it; adding to the integrity and sincerity of his songwriting. No mass vocal harmonizing and double or triple-tracking here; the production is rudimentary, sparse and delicate throughout.
Though I could imagine Østera’s vocal mechanics fronting a full-on powerhouse rock band, here he more than convinces me in his singer-songwriter guise. It is bare bones enough to allow the emotion to come through in Østera’s voice- the focal point of his talent!