Melting away the winter frost, Well Wisher warm up with This Is Fine, the band’s debut album through 6131 Records. This Is Fine serves as Natalie Newbold’s first exploration of her own artistic vision since Dolly’s tumultuous breakup, and Newbold doesn’t disappoint. Massive riffs and catchy melodies feel charmingly natural with no-nonsense production on this ten song, summer-in-winter jam.
“Believe” immediately heats up with a bold riff emulating three-four time. This catchy, dynamic, pop-rock tune carries a confident bravado similarly felt in a Screaming Females or Hop Along track. Natalie Newbold and Lucas Dalakian aren’t afraid to write guitar parts that are playful and just garish enough to crack smiles. Lynsey Vandenberg and Mike Linardi lock together seamlessly, forming a rhythm section that pushes forward without ever missing a chance for smart punctuation.
Showcasing their range, Well Wisher head into “Sweet,” a song starting with gently strummed chords and just a dash of vocal fry. Vocally, Newbold’s timbre sits somewhere near Diet Cig and Kississippi, allowing for moments of softness that burst into assertive hooks.
Newbold often pulls her lyrical inspiration from the rough end of a tumultuous relationship, assumedly the same relationship that ultimately ended Dollys. These lyrics are deeply personal, filled with fine details that create a universality through emotional honesty.
Whether swaying through slow jams like “Sad Like Me,” pounding pop-punk energy on “I Know Better,” or toying with vintage rock rhythms on “Half Bad,” Well Wisher stir up This Is Fine with a wonderful blend of sounds. Through direct mixing and Newbold’s excellent vocal delivery, the album feels smartly unified even in its variety.
This Is Fine’s poppy sound, deeply personal subject matter, and variety of composition make for a phenomenal debut. With their first record, Well Wisher find a warm patch of sun as wonderful as, but markedly different than, the space occupied by Dollys. Like summer, This Is Fine flies by, leaving pleasant memories and a longing for a return of that sweet warmth. Let’s hope Well Wisher don’t keep us waiting for long.