Andy Wyatt (bass), Danielle Conerty (trombone/vocals), Jared Oren (violin/viola/percussion/vocals), Mike Conerty (trumpet/bass/vocals, Stuart Ross Johnson (vocals/guitar/percussion) and Warren Smith (drums) are Stuart Ross And The Temp Agency. The eclectic band combines dixieland, folk, bluegrass and more on their release Wandering In The Wild.
This is a DIY effort and I have to admit I really wanted to hear how this might sound professionally recorded. The production and recording quality is good for a DIY production although there were some odd aesthetic decisions.
I absolutely enjoyed the instrumentation on this album. It was really the aspect that was the cherry on top. The fiddle and horns were often fantastic. At times I was reminded of The Decemberists although the opener “Weather The Weather” sounds closer to Neutral Milk Hotel.
The band starts off very strong. An early highlight was “Spiders.” This is a great song with a Russian circus waltz vibe that Tom Waits tends to embrace. The song also dances into dixieland territory. The old rag time sound horns did me in. The band also has a good amount of success of the celebratory “Veins.”
Up next is “Devil's Stomping Ground” which has some baffling production decisions. The vocals are so distorted and loud they mask almost everything else. Luckily the band gets back on track with the highlight “New England Roads” and the title track. “Rattlesnakes” also gets too distorted for its own good and felt oddly out of place.
They close fairly strong with the emotionally resonant “Brick And Mortar” and “We Could Chase Stars.” Wandering In The Wild is a really strong album with some obvious flaws. The band is at their best when the songs are upbeat, full of instrumentation and weave in elements of jazz, folk and bluegrass. The first three tracks are superb.
With a few tweaks this band could be great. My best advice is to find a way into a pro studio and consider working with a producer to help sculpt the sound of the album.
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