Indie rock band The Wonderlife comprised of Jay Vertin (vocals/guitars), Jacob Lauing (drums/ bass/vocals/piano/guitars) and Peter Verheecke (guitars/vocals) burst onto the scene at the tail end of 2013 with their self-titled debut The Wonderlife. Since then some of the members went off to colleges that were far away from each other which obviously has made getting together for practice close to impossible.
Through Skype or vacations, songs eventually got written for their sophomore effort entitled Anchors. In the end the album had been recorded in Northern California, Los Angeles, Chicago and Montreal. Your first thought might be that the songs aren’t as cohesive as their debut but the opposite is actually true. The songs on Anchors are more refined and display stronger songwriting. On top of that the general flow of the album feels fluid and the band has made some improvements in terms of their technical ability.
The band starts off the album with a perfect opener entitled “The Fog.” It starts with a lone reverb laced guitar and vocals. Vertin sings, “Oh, a light / A shimmer in the night / The savior for a vessel bound to die / Cling, to life / Before we’re out of time / I know we won’t go down without a fight” which adds to the imagery of their cover art. It’s quite an epic opener and reaches some impressive peaks.
On the next track “As We Run” the band lightens up the atmosphere and even goes into some parts that blend reggae. The band really starts to flex their muscles a little after the two-minute mark especially the drumming. “Why, Oh Why” is a solid rocker with exceptional lead guitar while “We're Alright” is what you could consider a ballad. I loved the way the bass and drums work on “Let Go” which really makes the song pop. It also doesn’t hurt that the band goes at it with a fast BPM.
“Avenir (feat. Julien Renvoisé)” while featuring some solid guitar action felt like it was completely depleted of energy. It felt a little out of place amongst their other songs. The band plows through a number of huge sounding songs like “Rest Of My Days.” They close with “The Constant,” which is atmospheric and on the verge of dreamlike.
Anchors is a solid album overall but I have to say I thought the first half was especially strong. There are a couple of minor mishaps but I think it was a leap forward for the band since their debut. Recommended.
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