Review Summary: Immediately enjoyable and totally immersive, When We Land have crafted an excellent debut that also tips its hat towards an even more promising future.Introvert’s Plight
doesn’t much sound like the debut of a small-time “local Minneapolis band” that relied on an Indiegogo kickstarter campaign while possessing a hair over three hundred Facebook followers. No, this is the sound of a group making its footprint in a much larger scene – blending seasoned indie-rock craftsmanship with unanticipated production quality. Passion emanates from each of the record’s ten tracks, which are consistently kept afloat by Jesse Baxter’s sturdy and rangy vocals. The album’s atmosphere is further propelled by the contributions of the band and its producer – who together add subtle wrinkles that, over the course of time, become hooks. The lyrics are simple but heartfelt, taking a palpably melancholic air and pairing it with hopeful answers. Introvert’s Plight
may not be the most daring or adventurous, but it’s an album that When We Land can proudly stake their name on. As listeners, it’s a debut that we certainly don’t want to miss.
features a careful balance of tempos and styles without ever betraying its central atmosphere. We hear the rural, earthy tones of ‘Five Bar Blues’ placed alongside the more airy, romantic ‘Wake up O Sleeper’, which culminates in a stunning vocal sequence wrapped in lithe strings that seems to playfully wrap themselves around Baxter’s inflections. We witness bold, outward-reaching proclamations (But my heart’s beating louder than ever before
/ My spirit is aching for something more
) as well as deeply personal passages, like the childbirth-tribute ‘Hi My Son’, where Baxter chronicles both joy and doubt: He looks at me with wide eyes, innocent he blinks twice….Am I ready for this / His feet have never touched the ground and now I’m supposed to lead them
. The sonic and emotional spectrum that Introvert’s Plight
spans is impressive, and it offers a range of experiences that somehow all manage to remain within the wintry, indie-rock vibe that the band seems to thrive within. They may be at their very best when all of these elements come together, though, such as on the mid-tempo rocker ‘Take Me Back Again’ – which possesses the most infectious chorus on the entire album – or the opening ‘Wait’, which brings some of Jeff Meyers’ best lead guitar moments directly into the limelight. Truly though, there is no shortage of highlights as nearly every song constitutes a gem in some aspect of the band’s music.
Speaking of gems, there are a few here that qualify as diamonds, and they both come on the back end of the record. Baxter’s wife contributes lead vocals on ‘Come Home’ and fits right in as if she could be the lead vocalist herself; it’s an added dimension to an album that otherwise may have started to become vocally homogenous by its eighth track. They also avoid staleness by injecting her vocals at various other points throughout the album, namely the beautiful ‘Kicking and Screaming.’ It’s a smart move by a band that has displayed musical maturity far exceeding their actual experience. The final moment that cements Introvert’s Plight
as a resounding success is its epic closer, the nearly seven minute title track that feels like the emotional peak of the whole experience. As drummer Tim Torabpour gradually builds the intensity throughout the song’s runtime, it feels ripe for some existential, “crystallizing” type of moment that absolutely does come in the form of sweeping synths/keyboards and Baxter’s repeated chants of to know, and be known
, all of which rest upon some of the best percussive work on the entire album. It’s the ideal closer, and it leaves you with a feeling of total resolution and satisfaction – as if everything has its purpose and all will eventually fall into place.
It’s no easy task to find fault with Introvert’s Plight
. It’s not a genre-bender or a groundbreaking commentary, but it’s not trying to be. It’s also not very instrumentally complex, instead opting for more of a calm, transient aura. This feels like the kind of album that you would play on repeat as the snow gently covers the Minneapolis streets: it’s meant to be easily enjoyed from a melody/hook perspective, offering its fair share of unique twists without forcing you to do a deep dive for meaning. In other words Introvert’s Plight
is about as consistent as indie-rock debuts come, especially among lesser-known artists. With that said, there are certainly places to go from here. There remains plenty of room for When We Land to further cultivate their sound, experiment with others, and branch out into whatever direction they choose. Tracking their musical development will be quite intriguing considering the promising display that is Introvert’s Plight
…for now, it should firmly entrench their name as a rising band to watch.