William Wild's self-titled debut William Wild is not your average folk rock. That much is evident from the opening track "Veil" where ominous chopping acoustic guitar chords and plaintiff female vocals give way to a strobing, technical breakdown you'd be more likely to hear in a math rock or symphonic indie rock ensemble.
William Wild is folkier and rockier than is generally found within folk rock. This is due to the background of the musician and the origin of this record. The songs that would come to make up William Wild's debut began as acoustic song sketches from Garrett Sale, while attending the University Of Nashville at Tennessee. Sale approached drummer Aaron Hill about fleshing out the songs. Hill comes from more of a rockist/progressive background causing Sale to play his acoustic harder and sing louder and the seeds of William Wild were planted. A few months later, electric guitar, keyboard, bass and string arrangements had been added, creating a unique musical vision.
William Wild likes to rock out but appreciate the subtleties, as can be heard in the intricate fingerpicked acoustic guitars and chamber strings, like you'll find on "Townsend,” "The Rhythm" and "Evening Blues", which gives their heavy rockist bombast an orchestral chamber indie pop flavor recalling classic records like R.E.M.'s Automatic For The People, as well as more contemporary indie fare such as Sufjan Stevens, Iron & Wine, Andrew Bird, Owen Pallett and John Vanderslice.
Basically, William Wild will enthrall listeners of recent doomed and blasted country rock, from bands like Chelsea Wolfe, Wye Oak, and The Handsome Family's "Far From Any Road," used as a theme song for the haunted southern gothic series True Detective. Andrew Bird's orchestral interpretation of that song, from this year's Handsome Family cover record Things Are Really Great Here (Sort Of) for an idea of what possibilities lie within this combination. While William Wild has prestigious influences and sonic similarities, they are very much their own creature. I predict that within a year, people will be comparing other bands to this record.
It almost seems a shame to deconstruct this record, as it is complete and flawless. It's the kind of record you play again and again, moving the needle back to the outer groove when it reaches the epicenter and start the journey all over again. Every element is perfect and perfectly placed: from Garrett Sale's ethereal vocals, which blow like a breeze through a grove of cypress trees, and delicate acoustic arpeggios; to John Knight's chunking Telecaster rhythm guitar, delicious caked in shivering reverb; to Aaron Hill's primal and propulsive percussion. On top of this, the lyrics are poetic and moving, having an almost mythological feel but rooted in the language of the Earth and the seasons, and the spine chilling string section, that recalls when Amiina used to back up Sigur Rós.
I cannot recommend this album highly enough! For anyone that likes acoustic music, or ambitious, orchestral indie rock, or anyone with a pulse, really, this is essential!
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