ALBUM REVIEW: Wild Leaves’ EP – Hello Sunlight

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Artist: Wild Leaves
Album: Hello Sunlight  EP
Release Date: October 1st, 2014
Rating: 4/5

By Savoula Stylianou. ‘Hit the road and drive/don’t need a reason why/head for the countryside/now I have a reason why.’ Appealing advice for a twenty-something writer like me trying to figure out where the road of life is going to take me next. The bewitching lyrics come from nature-themed folk group Wild Leaves. Their new EP, titled Hello Sunlight, is a compilation of four songs each with their own ode to one of nature’s gifts, and a follow-up to last year’s debut EP, “Wind & Rain”. On the band’s website, they write that their songs are reflective of the five members moving from the Midwest United States to the music hub of Brooklyn, NY. Those particular lyrics, from the song “Forever Moonlight,” are one example of how the band takes you on a faraway trip with them and encourages you to hold on for the ride.

From the psychedelic first chords of “Open Sky” to the strong oomph accompanying the finishing lyric of ‘Carry me home,’ in the EP’s last song “Black River,” overall the collection of songs has a strong sense of unity. There’s a flow throughout each of the songs, like the flow of a river, if you will, like the lead singer is trying to describe a picture to me, of the sky, the moonlight up above, the ocean, and the accompanying river. I feel as though I am in the car with Wild Leaves, moving away from home and taking note of the imminent, but sometimes unnoticed friend on a long journey: your surroundings.

Before listening to the four-song EP, I only needed to take one look at the band’s list of influences on their Facebook page to guess I was going to be a fan. The group, which consists of Adam Lytle, Brett Banks, Cole Emoff, Genevieve Rainsberger, and Joey Deady – five friends who moved from the midwest to Brooklyn together – cite broad influences from Kris Kristofferson to Phil Spector to The Mamas and the Papas. The band members prove to be well-versed in their music and producing history and outlines their vision of what they want their music to sound like and how they want their fans to think of it. When I first heard the EP, I was impressed by the music’s ability to invite you in like a willow tree providing shelter from the rain. What keeps the songs from being classified as sleepy folk is the soft, but recognizable backing vocals of Genevieve Rainsberger, providing something of an echo in a canyon effect and keeping the viewer’s attention to catch her detail. Wild Leaves shows its instrumental prowess with the perfectly synced rhythm of the drums and the electric guitar, especially shown in “Mystic Ocean.” Still more impressive is their mastery of lyrics filled with delicious imagery that evokes only the most beautiful of pictures in my mind as I listen.

Catch Wild Leaves performing in Toronto this weekend as part of NXNE. They’re playing this Saturday at Cameron House at 11 PM.

You can have an exclusive listen to “Forever Moonlight” below, as well as some of their older music here.

 

 

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