The Willows shot to prominence a couple of years back when they released their album Beneath Our Humble Soil which was widely critically acclaimed and championed by prominent BBC DJs Mike Harding and Bob Harris. Since then the band have gone on from strength to strength as they toured the country, pouring their heart and soul into their work. November saw the release of their third studio album Through the Wild, a fresh and delicately balanced album that is as natural as the breeze.
Through the Wild is a raw and bracing album that seems to have a raw and earnest power that rumbles away beneath the surface of the music. The Willows themselves are composed of five young and immeasurably talented individuals, each of whom brings their own unique twist and lilt to their work. However, the vocals are one of the first noticeable aspects presented to you when Coda steps into life. With leading vocals that are as soft and playful as the wind it’s little wonder that you find yourself so enraptured. This charming, tender voice rings out to you like a siren song – without a doubt this is a group that could lead many a ship astray should they desire. However, with Jade Rhiannon, Ben Savage, Cliff Ward and Katriona Gilmore all taking part in the vocals, the result is a collection of songs filled with absolutely stunning harmonies. The absolute depth to their voices is something that has to be heard to be believed.
This is an album that is an uplifting journey that ranges from the tender and atmospheric likes of Dear Lilly to the more riled up folk tunes such as False Light. These songs are dangerously addictive, bursting at the seams with their own special blend of contemporary folk music. A vibrant maelstrom of sound is born from their violins, mandolins, guitars, banjos and so much more. The music swirls and undulates in a remarkable fashion as if it were growing and breathing with every new chord. This natural atmosphere is carefully crafted from the audible love that the band have not just for the music they make but for each other. The melodies produced in Through the Wild are so precise and collected because each member plays their own part as if they are an extension of someone else’s. This almost familial aspect bonds you to them, making you feel a part of this jovial, tight-knit group and creates a series of songs that are perfect.
Through the Wild is a marvellous album that is natural, beautiful and soulfully soothing. By twists and turns it does have a simple and evocative nature but then raging tunes such as Gog Magog creep in and fill it with energy. The result is a bold and charismatic album that can move you like a hurricane.
More info at: https://www.thewillowsband.com/
Review by Joe Knipe