Review Summary: Hey!
I’m all for not judging books by their cover, but The Lonely Wild were begging for it. The name, the Wild West theme, the male-and-female vocals had me casting them originally as another band trying to ride into the music industry on the coattails of bleached indie-folk classics like “Little Lion Man” and “Ho Hey” (or is it “Hey Ho”? Honestly not quite sure). And who could blame them, really? If there’s a time to be gimmicky, it’s now. Last year we saw a band from Iceland with people in it apparently called Nanna and Ragnar pick up guitars and write a folk ditty that broke into the U.S. Billboard Top 20. The state of music is changing, and it kind of makes me wonder why I’m sitting here writing this and not making songs with banjos and brass lines and “hey!”s.
Unlike myself, however, The Lonely Wild have the right idea. Actually they’ve had it since back in 2011 when they released their debut EP Dead End
, which could have been (and probably was) used as the soundtrack to a B-rate Western. That’s the thing, though: quality aside, The Lonely Wild have been at this for a bit longer than their contemporaries and it shows in their music. The Sun as it Comes
is much more a genuine product of the musicians who made it than it is a product of the times. This is a band that reeks of authenticity. This is also a band that poses for their press release pictures on large, canyon-esque rocks, but that’s entirely irrelevant.
Because there’s more to this album--and this band--than meets the eye. The climax at the end of the title track is downright spooky, and “Banks and Ballrooms” feels more like something Win Butler would write than a Mumford & Sons cut. There are a handful of tracks here--saloon dance number and lead single “Buried in the Murder” among them--that seem way too flimsily built on a Wild West gimmick to work, but they do. At its best, The Sun as it Comes
is a bold amalgamation of ideas and genres. At its worse it’s merely inoffensive, and that’s probably the greatest compliment I can give an album like this.
It feels kind of refreshing to, for once, toss out the sluggish stereotypes that come with genre and just find a really good album. The Sun as it Comes
is a really good album.