Review Summary: Best Wishes is only the beginning to what sounds like a very promising career; unlike their dark lyrics, their future seems to burn bright.
Falling in love with music can be a fickle thing; it seems that the more attracted you are towards it, the more impossible it is to listen to all of releases that might strike your fancy. It's akin to falling down a rabbit hole even if you tend to gravitate to only a few genres. Best Wishes
came to me at a time where I was becoming a bit disillusioned with my own listening habits. I was simply downloading too many artists and not spending enough time with each one of them. I just wasn't taking the time to appreciate music for what it has always been to me; a simple escape from the mundane, formulaic aspects of my life. New music just always seemed to breathe new life into whatever I was doing. Enter Best Wishes, who take the most affecting parts of shoegaze and folk and blend them into a swirling cloud of hazy joy. While this is the Canadian trio's first release together, one can initially tell that all members have been making music for quite some time separately; unobtrusive drums poke through gorgeously textured atmospheres, complimented by simultaneously beautiful and intrepidly sad vocals.
And there is certainly no doubt that Best Wishes
is a dichotomous listen, as the mood can (and does quite often) shift from joyous and upbeat to startlingly depressing. Most songs on this release are so unassuming that it is easy for the listener to miss the brilliant transitions that happen throughout, "Riverwild" being the best example of this. The slow and deliberate chord progressions begin quietly, and swell into a reverb-laden gorgeous melody. The catharsis could have been even greater, but that is unfortunately the downside of this release; even at their most active, Best Wishes would much rather quietly add synth, piano, and other assorted ethereal noise into the background. The drums stay simple, the gently strummed guitars never add too
much distortion, and vocalist/drummer/pianist Scott Orr never goes above the weathered croon for a well-deserved emotional payoff. This is not to say that the music is boring at all; on the contrary, the compositions are often dense with atmosphere while still being very catchy. "Clouds" boasts a distorted guitar line that buzzes in and out of the song, complementing a beautiful clean guitar passage that segues into what sounds like a combination of a toy piano and a synth line.
Ultimately Best Wishes thrive the most when they take their time developing the songs; they ease the listener into every new facet of the song as it is introduced. Peeling back the layers of Best Wishes
is certainly worth any music lover's time, as the range of emotions expressed through their brand of atmospheric, drug-like folk music is both initially surprising and welcoming. One can't help but be excited about the possible progression for a future full-length when the gang vocals on last song "Friendship" fade out to a hushed Orr proclaiming, "Don't ever let them send you where nobody knows your name/Don't ever go to places where the faces look the same". This album slowed me down and allowed me to take the time necessary to enjoy music again, and that is certainly saying something. Best Wishes
is only the beginning to what sounds like a very promising career; unlike their dark lyrics, their future seems to burn bright.