27 June 2016

Wylder - Rain and Laura // LP review

Rain and Laura, the newly released album from indie pop and folk band Wylder has an incredibly optimistic sound with traditional folk instruments such as the mandolin, acoustic guitar and fiddle, combined with the wide sounds of piano, percussion and beautiful harmonies.

I love this album. Everything about it - especially the driven, upbeat instrumentals - is incredibly inspiring. Listening to it in the early morning got me pumped! I was ready to get out and face the world, which probably had something to do with the repeated lyric that I found myself singing along to in the opening track: "The sun came up above the city, I'm awake my heart is in my chest". Today is a good day!

Opening on a super strong track, I was immediately taken by the band's ability to combine lyrical depth and complexity with memorable melody and lines easily sung along to. It is often hard to get the blend just right, but these guys do it well, ensuring a path to success!

The crispness of the vocals, along with his great dynamic range, gives the band a distinct sound and energy, and stands out clear and strong against the multi-layered sound supporting it.

During the song Swells, I had the descriptive 'cute' coming to mind. But for some reason people don't often seem to take that as a compliment, so I'm just gonna leave that thought there and move on with the review. (It is a compliment by the way, the happy-go-lucky vibe is cute). Also, I was totally digging that fiddle solo, and the drop down to the delicate piano melody following that was just perfect!

As the album progresses I'm starting to get Fleet Foxes vibes, maybe a bit of Death Cab for Cutie. I like that Wylder have a really independent sound, and yet take enough influence from the current music scene to make themselves totally radio friendly. This LP could really go places.

In the track Bayhouse, the nice clear electric guitar shares the same melody as the vocal line, building a sound that stands out a little bit from the album, and yet remains of the same style and feel. Done well, this technique really brings a song to life, and with the help of the ever-brilliant backing harmonies it sounds great.

But then Snake in the Grass drops right down and becomes a little more delicate with beautiful interlocking picked patterns on the guitar and mandolin.This is a really moving song with really great instrumentation from the band members.

I like that throughout the album, and within each song, there is a constantly flowing emphasis from one instrument to another. Every now and then there'll be little half-bar breaks that stitch the song together with expert technique.That's what keeps an album fresh and gives a song that little nudge it needs to go from good to great.

I could go on singing praises for this album but I think I've made my point pretty clear. It's a bit good. It's very good.

For an album with mounds of energy, songs that drive forward with constant rhythms, and lyrics that emote and inspire, Rain and Laura is the one you need to listen to.

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