The Written Years is a Canadian band which we feel confidence in suggesting you will be hearing a great deal of over coming years. The reasoning for that comes with their self-titled debut album, an emotionally and melodically fuelled release which mesmerises ears and potently inspires the imagination. Consisting of eight songs which bring an original blend of post and alternative rock with folk and melodic inspirations, the album is a compelling flight of what the band calls “Winter Music”.
Hailing from Kelowna and now based in Vancouver the trio of Wade Ouellet (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Kodie Krogh (guitar, vocals), and Kane Enders (drums), The Written Years has built a strong and well-followed presence with their inventive and original sound as well as acclaimed live performances. Casting tales of affection, belonging, loss, and nostalgia, their first release has all the potential and beauty to inspire the same reactions further afield, awakening new hungry appetites across the rest of North America, Europe and beyond. Aided by the talents of numerous guest musicians, the album is a masterful persuasion of open and smouldering temptation; one where resistance is unlikely to make much of an attempt to fight.
Opening track It’s Not Your Fault emerges from a shadowed yet crystalline ambient mist with jangling sonics teasing ears before a firmly placed stroll of guitar and keys bred melodies and colour breaks out. It is an immediately magnetic offering, especially as the song expands its evocative suasion to embrace the strong and expressive vocals of Ouellet. Steady punchy rhythms keep a dark edge skirting the warm touch and gait of the song, whilst harmonies fly with charm and energy across the sultry sky of the encounter. It is an infectious introduction with a tinge of the anthemic persistence Doves place in some of their creations.
From a fly on the wall like studio link, second song I Would Miss My Home If I Knew Where It Was bounces into view with broad rhythmic shoulders and sonic tenderness to the fore. There is a wonderful folk expression to the indie spawned narrative as well as a creative revelry which dances with the imagination and passions. With wonderful additional vocals provided by Julia Huggins alongside those of Murray Ash, the song is a delicious romp with heady edges and darker depths. Already The Written Years show themselves to be unique to most, their sound a fresh mix apart from any other yet discovered but certainly for European readers there is a comparison to Irish band Knots which you could draw to give a sense of the invention at play.
Homesick Dirge is a slow invasive treat, its title a just description of its sound though the track never reaches into the darkest funereal realm which might be assumed. Pungently emotive keys wrap equally passionate vocals whilst guitar and bass craft a web of intrigue and provocative colour to fill the heavy hearted yet refreshing canvas laid by lyrics and voice. A slower burn on the passions than its predecessors, the track over time is just as potent and challenging, as is the next up The Phone Is Ringing. Apparently the chord progression of the thought caressing song was the first element of the album, its creation six years ago the spark to the album which was completed with its final master in 2013. The track simply croons and lures the emotions from start to finish, every note and syllable drenched in enveloping melancholia.
An elevated pace and urgency returns with You’re Too Kind, strumming guitars and lurking basslines entrancing ears whilst keys and vocals get to work on the senses. There is a sixties pop energy to the song, and element of sound which dare we say has a touch of Walker Brothers to it. The track is a masterful charge of inventiveness and emotional incitement, mini crescendos and resonating melodies flaming highlights in the outstanding proposition.
Both Hospital Rooms and Are You Okay? keep satisfaction and full enjoyment high, even if the pair do not quite match the heights already set. The first is another with a punchy gait to its canter, rhythms crisply punctuating flames of melodic poise whilst its successor like most tracks is a weave of intimately touching and evocative feelings, the pair only increasing the greed of ears and passions for band and album.
The release is closed by The Station, the song a glorious hug of hypnotic rhythms and bass persistence entwined with mesmeric melodies and thought caressing vocals, which reminds a little of Scottish band, Letters. It is an engrossing end to a similarly riveting release. With the bridging studio fiddling between songs the only negative thing on the album, their presence more a distraction which at times disrupts the flow of the release for personal tastes, The Written Years’ debut is just irresistible, an attention enslaving introduction to a band we are destined to be wrapped up in time and time again.
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