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The Wandering Hearts - Wild Silence (Album Review)

Thursday, 22 February 2018 Written by Simon Ramsay

Armed with a fairytale backstory that almost makes their very existence seem predetermined, the Wandering Hearts have generated a massive amount of early momentum thanks to an alt-folk Americana sound dripping with sublime melodies and spine-tingling harmonies.

But any motion sickness the British quartet have experienced so far will be nothing compared to what’s coming if their highly accomplished debut, ‘Wild Silence’, catapults them towards the big leagues.

Having been discovered and signed within months of uploading some embryonic recordings onto Soundcloud, Tara Wilcox, Chess Whiffin, Tim Prottey-Jones and AJ Dean have since shared bills with Tom Petty, Stevie Nicks and Marty Stuart, and also received the Bob Harris Emerging Artist gong at this year’s UK Americana Awards.

That’s the kind of whirlwind breakthrough most acts dream about, but such instant acclaim will inevitably make the Wandering Hearts a target. You can almost hear the suspicious critics and naysayers lining up to take shots at them. Which will be a futile endeavour because ‘Wild Silence’ is all killer, no filler.

Boasting impeccable songwriting that’s both varied and fully formed, Wish I Could and Burning Bridges are graceful folk bijous, while Fire and Water’s tribal beat and celebratory hook make for a rollicking party starter. The feisty duet Rattle offers soaring Americana that’s Fleetwood Mac staring down Chris Stapleton, with Heartbreak Hotel and Devil providing infectious pop rockers that highlight the band’s ability to smuggle darker lyrics into upbeat anthems.

They don’t shy away from moodier numbers and paint them with exquisite detail. Laid in the Ground transitions from traditional folk intimacy into a hymn-like chorus full of desperate drama. The mystical Iona, which could be Madonna’s La Isla Bonita if written by Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, is laden with exotic ambience beneath its haunting, melodious surface.

In fact, the way the Wandering Hearts’ vintage, transatlantic hooks and Americana textures have been melded to a very English folk sound, as opposed to a classic country twang, almost positions them as Britain’s answer to Little Big Town. As do their world class, four part harmonies.

Individually, they’re great singers who each take their turn in the spotlight. Wilcox’s cut glass mellifluousness is reminiscent of the Shires’ Crissie Rhodes, and Dean possesses a roaring delivery that’s so similar to Stapleton the bearded troubadour may hear parts of this album and wonder when he recorded them. But the magic really happens when their voices seamlessly meld together, elevating each track’s emotional resonance.

The biggest compliment to be afforded to this album is that when hearing it you’ll initially wonder which classic track, by which iconic band, you’re remembering. Such an attention-grabbing origin story may be a lovely thing for the Wandering Hearts to possess, but the fact their music has the power to make this kind of impact could well be the lasting narrative for a band who are just getting started.

The Wandering Hearts Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Thu February 22 2018 - MANCHESTER Ruby Lounge
Fri February 23 2018 - GLASGOW Broadcast
Thu March 01 2018 - LONDON Bush Hall

Click here to compare & buy The Wandering Hearts Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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