Review: Wylder – Rain and Laura

Washington, DC-based indie folk-pop band Wylder unleashed their new album, Rain and Laura on Friday, April 8th.  Okay, here’s the deal; I could write a cerebral music review packed with every SAT word imaginable, describing each note of each song in the most pretentious way possible…I mean, I’ll admit it.  I’ve done it before, but y’all, I’m going to level with you—I quit reading some music sites simply because the reviews were literally exhausting to plow through, and writing those drippy essays can be as tiresome as trying to read them.

Beloved readers, I don’t want to bore you.  I don’t want you to have to get a dictionary out to decipher what I’m trying to say about Rain and Laura.  So here it is in a nutshell: I love this record, and here’s why:

The album is 10 songs of sheer genius; the instrumentation is impeccable— I could say something like, “the addition of mandolin to the ensemble provides unparalleled brightness and a perfect accompaniment to the movement provided by the fiddle and richness contributed by the lower strings in every song.” Instead, I will say that the way Wylder has put itself together, instrument-wise, is a perfect blend…and those voices!  Frontman Will McCarry’s vocal stylings are reminiscent of Death Cab For Cutie’s Benjamin Gibbard, along with what comes across as a heavenly host of folks providing backup.  The fullness of it all washes over me as I listen, and I literally feel like I am a part of the music.

Each track is lyrically clever and expertly crafted—I could say something like “upon a cursory listen, the tone of the album is upbeat and lighthearted, but within the hopeful swell of the composition, the band explores themes of heartbreak and loss; however, this exploration is less wallowing and more reflection, leaving this listener with a sense of optimism that beauty can come from ashes.”  Instead, I will say that even though some of the tracks’ subject matter is heavy, there is fun to be had with Rain and Laura.  For example, “Bitter”, my favorite song on the record, is about an unexpected and one-sided breakup; it’s easily one of the most anthemic tracks on the album, with some wit thrown in to make us smile, as McCarry sings “Since I know you/I should know better/When I saw him in/My favorite sweater”.  I laughed out loud.

Even the song placement is purposeful and well-thought out—I could say something like “from the introductory notes of joyful album opener “Living Room”, the band takes the listener on an eventful journey, rounding the halfway point with the introspective and matter-of-fact tone of “Strange Weather”, leading into the fist-pumping tongue-in-cheek fervor of “Bitter”, and delivering us to a tender ending with “At The End, Pt. 1” and “At The End, Pt. 2”.  Instead I will say that listening to Rain and Laura is a heartfelt adventure that is waiting just for you, beloved reader.

Give it a listen, you know you want to:

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Susan Hubbard

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