OMITF issued a well received debut album, ‘The Company Of Strangers', in 2020 and wowed audiences promoting it when guesting for the likes of The Delines and touring in their own right. ‘Gold On The Horizon' sees them move up a level with songs that range from raw and barren in ‘Come Back To Me', which showcases Ellis' trademark soulful vocal harmonies via a sparse arrangement of acoustic guitar and pedal steel, to the spacious mirror ball slow-dance of ‘Go Easy', to the full desert noir feel of horns, baritone guitar and backing harmonies running through album opener ‘Feel Good'. It also includes the bright, upbeat teaser single ‘Last Dance' [LISTEN], which recalls Hiss Golden Messenger (who recently had an album mixed by Martine and is embellished with a country fiddle melody and oscillating synth line.
Our Man In The Field was the result of an epiphany. In 2014, Ellis found himself in hospital under observation for intense abdominal pains. Worryingly, a tumour was discovered, a similar growth having accounted for his father's death in his 40s. As Ellis awaited treatment, he reflected on his dad's life - hard work in a job he didn't like and unable to enjoy the fruits of his labour - and realised he needed to make some changes to avoid the same fate.
Until then, Ellis had been an actor, with TV ads and other gigs keeping him afloat until the next audition, but nothing to catapult him to fame. Having just auditioned for one especially denigrating role, his health scare begged the question: ‘What do I want to do?' And, what Ellis thought of while bored and anxious in his hospital bed wasn't acting, but playing his guitar and the freedom and expression that songwriting offered. Upon his discharge and subsequent recovery, he began writing and creating his aesthetic and sonic identity.
Ellis had actually written his first songs as a football mad teen growing up in the north-east, but never took music seriously until moving to London and recording a few efforts that a friend sent to Tom Robinson, who played them on his BBC 6 Music show. This led to Ellis' first live outings, followed by a return to the studio to make what became ‘The Company Of Strangers'.