Iowa City native Anthony Worden dropped his third album Voilà earlier this year. This is the first project with Worden’s band, The Illiterati. Worden has been doing this a while now, spending the last five years immersed in the Iowa City music scene. According to him, the time spent there has influenced his music, as he has allowed variations of rock n’ roll to “shape the trajectory” of his music. These inspirations are still present on Voilà, as he puts his spin on ‘60s psychedelia.
The opening title track “Voilà” ”features lounge music mixed with psychedelic rock. Easy going piano, bass and drums drive most of the song with an occasional ghostly voice uttering “voilà.” About two-thirds of the way through, a trippy reverse guitar solo comes in and plays the song out. The laid back psychedelic nature of this track makes for a great album opener.
“The Slightest Notion,” reminiscent of The Kinks and The Monkees, effectively channels the psychedelic pop of the ‘60s. The synth works in tandem with the acoustic guitar on this uptempo track, rising and falling in a way that builds momentum. Worden even puts on a British accent at moments in this song, and it works well in the context of the song’s playfulness. "Shake it Like a Clock" and "The Rolling Stones" have a similar style.
Despite the ‘60s roots, Worden and the Illiterati bring their flair to the music on Voilà. "Thank You" is a country-leaning track that slows things down. There's a yearning in the vocals and guitar solo that isn't present in the others. Fans of Deerhunter's Halcyon Digest will dig this track. But, the obvious stand out on the album is “What in the World,” a slow tune that flawlessly fuses synthesizer and a drum machine with acoustic guitar. It also features gorgeous vocal harmonies that infectiously repeat the phrase, “What in the world could it be / could it be / it’s alright.” Seriously, this song is incredible. A must listen.
On Voilà, Anthony Worden and the Illiterati balance thoughtfulness with having a damn good time. They mix psychedelia, country and electronic with a jam band sheen to create one of the most enjoyable listens so far this year.
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