Wick Stephens is an artist from Philadelphia, PA. The artist recently released a six-song EP entitled The End. There’s a mix of styles, so let’s get into it.
“The End [feat. Wylie Something]” is the opening song and the first thing I noticed is this was a very lo-fi sounding. It revolves around a basic 4/4 beat, fuzzy bass, cleaner guitar and vocals. The vocal melody is catchy and the song felt a bit like an intro. It's a a fun and playful type of vibe.
“Moonchild” is actually better than the opener in terms of the mix. It begins with delayed guitars and a pulsating rhythm section. The song also begins with the hook which gains your attention. After the hook the song simmers into a solid verse. I found the lyrics memorable and something you could sing along with. Stephens signs “Incantations that I know you know, / Recite the good parts, / The good parts, baby.”
“Headshots (in the Kitchen)” is the best song yet. The guitars are clean, the vocals are on point and overall there’s a solid groove. It sounds like there’s an auto-tune like effect on the vocals which melds with an Americana vibe.
“The End, part II” is more synth heavy and has more elements than the previous songs. This song is more cosmic sounding but is also dynamic and powerful. The best moments are towards the end where the cascading vocal harmonies come into the song before it abruptly stops.
“Yer Old Dog” starts with a declaration of sorts. The song is loose and perhaps a little funky. It seems to be satirical and humorous. I wasn’t expecting the song to fade out and go into a lush vocal soundscape. “Sleep for Days” is the most realized arrangement. The song does attempt to rock at points but also doesn't mind going into a cerebral section which feels a bit meditative and psychedelic.
The songs more or less find one idea or theme and run with it. There are some solid ideas here but I would encourage the artist to explore more possibilities as to where they go and how to implement more intricate parts. The songs felt a little disconnected from each other in terms of genre and the production which all have a lo-fi recording quality. I would encourage the artist to consider working with a producer or engineer if he wants to take the songs to the next level.
Overall, this release has some solid ideas and points to an artist with some potential and true talent. I look forward to hearing more of his output as his ideas continue to evolve.
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