At just twenty years old, Wyatt Baldwin has been performing music for five years already. He's collaborated with other bands, acting as a drummer or front man, but his instinct has always been to be a solo act. I'm a bit of a lone wolf myself so I respect that instinct. I would also say it works pretty well for him. His album Satisfaction Guarantee is a ballsy statement, and not just because of its name. Baldwin brings romantic blues, alt rock and a healthy dose of Americana into these four fascinating songs.
The opening track "You Can't Lie If I Pay You First" is a slow building epic that almost sounds as though it should not have been the opener. The song is the perfect backdrop for credits rolling or a slow motion montage in where the audience is given the opportunity to observe in careful detail all the damage that nasty plot twist has done. The piano performance is a lovely additive that adds to the picture being painted along with uncanny lyrics. So yeah, not typically ideal for a first track, BUT I liked it this way and i wouldn't change it. It was a distinctive introduction to Baldwin to hear him be so utterly vulnerable right off the bat. Especially with a song that was nearly seven minutes long, oh yes, I said seven minutes. Again, BALLSY, but the song was so beautiful I hardly noticed. Luckily he kicks it up a notch with the next song.
The second song is "Elevator Music" and I assure you sounds nothing like the title might suggest. This one comes with a refreshing crispness of the Americana element along with modern indie rock elements. It's a lighthearted mix which again comes with solid lyrics that make this one particularly addictive.
"The Storm" brings a bit of harder rock edge. He illustrates turmoil both within the brashness of the music as well as the lyrics. Here he is at his most pointed and defensive. You can tell walls have been put up, emotional boundaries have been betrayed and crossed. However this song is not without its vulnerabilities as well. If you listen carefully you can hear it in the music which in a few key moments will relent. Same thing with the lyrics. Whatever had been done to trigger this song is a lesson well learned and something that I feel he may inevitably come to terms with.
"Serendipity" was the quintessential closer for this album. I would classify it as dreamy Americana. It has a sweet hopefulness to it that makes it sound very innocent and charming. I like that I got to hear it after hearing "The Storm.” It made for a nice change up and perfectly illustrated his ability to communicate his emotional range.
I was delighted to know Baldwin hails from Williamsburg, Virginia, I have actually been through there a few times. I think it's a hidden gem and I can see how he might have pulled this cool sound of his from his environment. It really is a fantastic and unexpected little album, worth a listen.
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