WILD SILENCE - THE WANDERING HEARTS
LCM ALBUM OF MONTH - FEBRUARY 2018
- Artist: The Wandering Hearts
- Release Date: 9th February, 2018
- Genre: Americana, Folk-Pop, Country
- Record Label: Decca Records
- Tracks: 12
- Website: http://www.thewanderinghearts.com/
- Review By: Gary Smith (LCM)
Every so often a very special new band comes along which makes an large and immediate impact. We think for Americana/Folk-Pop music in the UK in 2018, it will be the wonderful The Wandering Hearts. Already receiving high praise and recognition they have been frequently BBC Radio 2 play listed and received the AMA UK 'Bob Harris Emerging Artist Award for 2018'. The band were very quickly signed to Decca Records. If Decca needed a band to replace 'The Shires' who moved to Big Machine last year, they certainly couldn't have chosen a more perfect option.
There is something very natural and organic about The Wandering Hearts, from their super tight and lush harmonies, through to their strong songwriting and storytelling ability. They are also all instantly likable which also goes a long way in music. Their eagerly awaited debut album 'Wild Silence' is a wonderful collection of high quality music spanning Americana, Folk-Pop and Country. I think I have described the band before as Fleetwood Mac meets The Pierces. But there is something fresh about their sound, something that makes you really take notice. All excellent singer-songwriters in their right Tara Wilcox, Francesca (Chess) Whiffin, AJ Dean-Revington & Tim Prottey-Jones came together as friends, drinking gin and listening to each others music around a coffee table.
The seeds of the band were sown in late 2015 when Tim Prottey-Jones and Tara Wilcox found themselves singing at the same gig, and immediately hit it off over their shared background. Both were hard-bitten pros: Tim was a multi-instrumentalist, singer, and actor who had worked extensively in musical theater and as a session musician; Tara with years of experience under her belt, had her own singing school. Shortly thereafter, they were introduced by mutual friends to singer/guitarist A.J. Dean, an alumnus of "the U.K.'s premier rock 'n' roll band" the Bluejays and Francesca "Chess" Whiffin, also a former musical theater performer. Deciding to get together at Tim's apartment over G&Ts to play some songs he had written, the quartet clicked at once. Christening themselves the 'Paper Hearts', they recorded two demo songs, "Today Is Ours" and "Sunshine," which they uploaded to SoundCloud, leading to a flurry of immediate interest. The deft fingerpicking, rousing choruses, dark-hued lyrics and sweet tight vocal harmonies drew comparisons to Fleetwood Mac, whom the band later acknowledged as a major influence along with First Aid Kit, the Civil Wars, Tom Petty, Simon & Garfunkel, and Cara Dillon. Within a month, they had been invited to audition for Decca, who signed them on the spot. Re-branded the Wandering Hearts to avoid confusion with any of numerous other acts with the same name, they played a number of high-profile festival shows in 2016 including C2C and released their debut single, the bittersweet "Wish I Could," early in 2017. Their eponymous debut album followed in September of that year.
The new album was produced by Pete Hammerton (365 Artists) who also provides additional backing vocals, guitar, keyboard, bass, mandolin, uke and percussion. Pete has worked with other acts including Britney Spears, Little Mix, James Arthur and Rebecca Ferguson among others. The album was recorded in London at The Premises, Red Room Studios, Grand Cru Studios and No.1 Baltic Place.
The album opens with 'Rattle' with his hooky guitar licks and driving folk-rock percussion. It has a real Fleetwood Mac vibe. The pace slows a little with 'Wish I Could', the band's debut single first released in May last year to a mass fanfare. One of the things I love about their music is it is always memorable and very catchy. You can definitaly see the high quality musicianship that goes into creating it.
We head into full high energy country-pop for the love song 'Fire & Water', which comes complete with a great yodeling section. 'If I Fall' is a classy top quality and heartfelt ballad with super tight and rich harmonies, which I think really showcases The Wandering Hearts wonderful fresh sound. Along with 'Burning Bridges' and 'Devil' it's one of my favourite tracks on the album. "If I were to fall, would you catch me now? Before I crumble in all my doubts.....Got this bottle of red, thoughts in my head. Blue eyes of surprise and pain. I won't spend my whole life in heartache and pain. If I fall would you catch me again?"
The album is very high quality all the way through. I love 'Change For The Good', which has a classic retro 'Laurel Canyon' feel. One the album's stand outs is the uptempo toe-tapper 'Devil' first released in July 2017. A personal look at the pressure and expectations of being in a band. The uplifting nature of the song contrasting with some of the lyrics "You can call me the devil in disguise. I don't care call me anything you like. I can see my redemption in your eyes from my fools paradise"........."Don't forgive me when I fail, 'cos everything I touch just turns to pain. I don't struggle either way. 'Spose some things never change"
Another tale of lost love and trying to save a relationship is the central theme of the funky 'Biting Through The Wires'. "Biting through all the wires. Taking all the shocks just to find a spark.....chasing down the thunder waiting for a strike, trying to find a spark......we fight this fight to reignite. But we are who we are'. The title track 'Wild Silence' is a personal love song about taking that leap of faith in a relationship. "This wild silence is our only sound". The pace changes again for the traditional folk infused 'Laid In The Ground' themed around bereavement and its aftermath. Another firm favourite is the reflective 'Burning Bridges'. It was written at a time when each band member was going through a difficult time in their lives. Rich sumptuous harmonies to die for on this one. Superb
Being trapped in a failing relationship is the basis for 'Heartbreak Hotel ', "I check out on my mistakes. Toss my wishes down a well. My heart aches that you count my mistakes. You say you don't but I can tell. My heart aches. I've got to escape.....this Heartbreak Hotel'. The album closes with the Viking-esque and atmospheric 'Iona' with its highly engaging 'crowd friendly' sing-a-long chorus. The sound of battle cries, drums and long boats and all the imaginary that comes with this ancient mythology. This one will really grow on you and you will want to join in on all the harmonies. It's a real ear-worm. I would love to see a video for it :)
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