Review of Van Wild self-titled debut album

Van Wild released their self-titled album on May 30. The band’s engaging combination of blues, rock and folk influences quickly draw listeners in.

The woman behind Van Wild is singer/songwriter/guitarist Yasmine Van Wilt. Though Van Wilt performed for many years under different names, Van Wild is a new endeavor. In this iteration of her creative self, Van Wilt mixes folk with the blues and a hefty dose of rock. The results are driving sounds, engaging lyrics and passionate performances.

Van Wild starts off on a high note with “Bluebird.” The uniquely dark and impassioned quality to Van Wilt’s voice immediately draws listeners in. Beautifully rugged tones permeate this track, with driving folk rhythms and rock intonations. Clearly Van Wild does not shy away from the shadowed side of life. However, she navigates the line well – audiences do not feel walled off, but accepted into her thought process.

Presenting a smooth transition from the previous track, “Momma” is an anger-infused song. Telling a tale of woe, edgy vocals and skilled instrumentals guide listeners through an unfortunate story. Fantastic guitar work throughout the record maintains momentum from track to track.

“No Riches No Glory” is next, with the feel of an old-time folk tale told in a modern day country-rock format. Beautifully sorrowful vocals mark this song. However, the singer does not tip into sadness without strength. Listeners get the sense that the story’s protagonist will not give up, despite devastation.

Next, “Hey Old Man” presents a departure in tonality. High-energy strings and percussion swing this track toward solid rock. Additionally, sharp vocals round out the song with seemingly sociopolitical statements. In a sudden shift, “Cherry Tree” switches the mood with a happy and upbeat country-leaning love song. Therein, Van Wild showcases a different side without losing depth of instrumentation.

Van Wild stands up when pared-down

The following few tracks on Van Wild continue to reflect a combination of blues, rock, country and folk infusions. However, a change comes about in the piano version of “No Riches No Glory.” A gut wrenching retelling of this song is a beautiful counterpoint, bearing the tonality of an old Celtic tale.

The final two tracks on Van Wild show off Van Wilt’s technical vocal capabilities with a country backdrop. The depth to Van Wilt’s voice – both in content and tone – are impressive. With highly skilled musicians lending their talents to this album, it is a high-impact record. A broad array of audiences will be intrigued by Van Wild and anticipate the next project.

 

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