Review Summary: Eminently listenable instrumental Americana
Tennessee musician William Tyler, best known for his role in indie-ish bands Lambchop and Silver Jews, has mostly flown under the radar on Sputnik throughout his solo career. His third album, 2016’s Modern Country, did garner some moderate attention and acclaim on the site. Its long-form instrumental American tunes, which summoned visions of sweeping vistas and the wide-open expanses of the American west, were a bit of a revelation for the minority (myself included) who discovered them.
So where has William Tyler taken his musical direction from there? His new album, Goes West, achieves the often difficult feat of matching the last album’s quality while simultaneously moving in a different style. While still easily describable as instrumental Americana, Tyler here trades in the mostly more languid tracks of Modern Country (several of which approached ten minutes in length) for easily digestible tunes with catchier melodies. This is Tyler’s “pop” album, although the overall effect of the music remains largely the same. Comprised of ten songs clocking in at around 37 minutes, Goes West is gorgeous in an accessible way but so mellow that it works beautifully as background music. Most of the melodies are repetitive, and simultaneously melancholy and sedate. Once again, the album spurs the mind towards endless wild landscapes and the freedom of the road. Ultimately, this is an ideal slab of tunes for absent-minded listening while focusing on something else, but there’s plenty of meditative beauty for more focused minds to enjoy as well. Check it out!