Van Wolf is an artist from Philadelphia, PA who just released his debut EP entitled Three Feet of Snow. Three Feet of Snow revolves around mostly an acoustic guitar and vocals but luckily Wolf doesn’t sound like a typical singer-songwriter. He still has some way to go to be able to hangout with big boys like The Tallest Man In the World, Sufjan Stevens and Neutral Milk Hotel but he is off to a good start.
The guitar playing is simple enough that any novice could play his songs but I don’t think many people could pull off the sort of enthusiasm he sings with. His exuberance and unbridled almost punk rock-esque singing style is the best thing he has got going for himself right now. The other thing I appreciate about Wolf was his lyrics, which avoid typical clichés and tropes, His lyrics are ambiguous but sometimes follow a very loose narrative.
Three Feet of Snow could use a couple of improvements in regards to recording quality. The guitars sounded thin and tinny and his vocals would have benefited from some EQ and compression if applied correctly. Hopefully, on his next EP we can see some improvements in this area.
For what Three Feet of Snow lacks in catchy melodies it makes up with attitude and willingness to experiment. Take for instance the title track in which Wolf finds one of his most unique guitar melodies. He sings, “He headed out- out into the snow. With a fire to keep other people warm. I scrubbed the floor- white as bone. So it’s a little cleaner for when you get home.” As the song progresses it sloppily adds bass and some sort of percussion.
Wolf finds some success with “The Tide.” He sings about seagulls, ships and sails; painting a fairly established scene with his lyrics. The song also benefits from the lyric “I knew you would leave” which provides an emotional weight in a somewhat ambiguous song. “Bay Breeze” is a solid closer that contains Wolf’s most expensive vocal performance.
Wolf is largely a case of wait and see. He has some potential but still needs some tweaking in a number of departments. Overall, this is a worthy first effort that I can recommend.
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