The dreamy, alternative folk rock debut from Vancouver’s THE WRITTEN YEARS may be the best album of 2014, so far |
As we surpass the halfway mark for 2014, there already appears to be an abundance of noteworthy music releases fuelled by an indie landscape that’s evolved into something far more eclectic, exciting and diverse than it’s 80s punk and 90s garage-band predecessors could offer. From psychedelic shoe-gaze rock, to dreamy synth-pop and alternative Folk, there’s plenty of interesting and progressive sub-genres that organically drift into one another as artistic boundaries and re-invented styles are explored, and no one could be happier than the most ardent music fan looking for something beyond the predictable and all too familiar veneer of regurgitated corporate-pop bombast.
If I had to pick one favorite album from the vast and tantalizing array of 2014 Canadian indie releases so far, it would probably be the self-titled debut from Kelowna/Vancouver trio THE WRITTEN YEARS. Each song is irresistably provocative in mining matters of the heart, with epiphanous lyrics, mood wrenching melodies, and the profoundly expressive vocals of Wade Ouellet, all gloriously coalescing to capture the emotional shadows of awakening, longing, and loss. There’s not a disingenuous moment to be had, with heartfelt, flashback-inducing scenarios and melancholic imagery inspired by a fertile framework of lyrics that has seemingly sprouted it’s own unique sonic environment, one that sucks the listener into another time and place for 37 minutes.
The relative ambiguity of the storytelling, equipped with such fiercely emotive detailing, fuels the imagination and personalizes each song as it unfolds, intensified all the more when reading the accompanying lyrics. The Written Years could serve as a soundtrack for anyone who’s experienced love and heartache, in one form or another, and not often is the emotional journey expressed as eloquently or as indelibly as this.
This album is so masterfully substantive and complete sounding for a debut offering, one wonders if it has anything to do with the advantage of a six-year gestation period, however once you’re immersed in this deeply introspective, hallmark indie-rock album, the deeper the appreciation goes for what can be accomplished when music is the result of a naturally occurring creative process. The Written Years is music everyone needs to hear, and a band I hope we hear a lot more from …
Affection, belonging, loss and nostalgia: four themes that encompass the lyrically driven music of The Written Years. These subjects are constantly questioned throughout the band’s songs, delivered passionately and honestly through Wade Ouellet’s melancholic acid-tinged vocals, Kane Enders’ unexpectedly triumphant drum lines and Kodie Krogh’s melodic and memorable guitar hooks.
Together, these three people are able to create a sound not currently heard in the Vancouver music scene, merging together a unique combination of indie rock, traditional folk, post rock and alt. rock influences. Somehow, the result of all this manages to feel both incredibly intimate and uncomfortably isolating and is backed by a highly energetic live show – made possible by a revolving cast of friends, helping to make each one a completely different experience.
Wade Ouellet – Words, vocals, guitar, keyboards
Kodie Krogh – Guitar, vocals
Kane Enders – Drums