A real family band, this crew – two sisters and a cousin, as they announced during their beguiling spot at Kent’s enjoyable Walled Garden Festival a few weeks ago. The outfit were excited about the pending release of this debut album and were premiering songs from the record. The fresh coastal artwork hints at a wild and free sound; live they seem to be multi-instrumental and keen on clean harmony vocalising. The question then has to be ‘how good are these songs?’
The Author floats in on an acoustic ripple and an electronic patter with live drums putting a semi-martial stamp on the breathy song, which has a mystic feel and maybe a hint of Stevie Nicks. I have read the lyric twice and cannot make head nor tail of it, maybe it is about having a child? There is a reference to a lullabye. The overall tone is tuneful restlessness, the reverbs just so.
Run is a jauntier piece altogether and is not a great distance from WK’s labelmates Ward Thomas. Again the backdrop is restless and the harmonies carry the song, a touch of delay and that standing-on-the-cliff ambience. Dove expresses a wish for wings set to a solemn pulse, beautiful singing over an eerie beat.
Steady My Heart plunges us into a mysterious setting, steady beat and not-quite-witchcraft vibe. They seem to eschew comfortable backdrop to take their songs into the mystic. Maybe the best vocal performances on this cut and a catchy tune. One small point to note here – the basslines could be more interesting as they lie between the topline and the varying tempo’s. It would add some bottom to the songs where needed. Circumstance is an elemental love song, going by the lyric in the booklet and those lovely voices combining to good effect.
Warrior Daughter was a strong live number, I recall. Reminds me a bit of the later (Annie Haslam) edition of Renaissance. Quite what struggle the lass in the tale is going into isn’t that clear, but a fighting spirit is encouraged in the words. Maybe the Debenhams sale …
Hold On rides in on a gentle stream, quite captivating and the harmonies ice the cake. This song is a very good example of what this group can attain in the way of twinkling melody; Taking A Hold has an immediate soft swirl and solid tempo, with almost boogie electric guitar. It is by far my favourite track on the disc, the backing has maximum colour and the singing is strong, keening a semi-tome away at points. Is there a video to this? There should be…
On And On has a jangly start and startling ensemble singing…somewhere between hesitancy and firmness and quite beguiling. Here again, a heavier bass track would have helped. The Valley is a misty Autumn lament, kept delicate and insinuating. Final song Turning Tides seems to be a kind of theme song. Jamie Evans makes the best of the sonic elements of the song as he seems to do throughout the tracks.
A real windswept and elemental song collection that as modern folkrock goes will find a following. I had to find a fleece after listening to this, though….
(Thanks to Glenn Sargeant, who found this act)
Feature Image Credit: Andy Earl
Wildwood Kin’s debut album ‘Turning Tides’ is out now on Sony/MBM Music.
In addition, Wildwood Kin will be touring the UK in Autumn 2017. For more information visit their official website here: http://bit.ly/2iryrlG