Album Review: Wesley Wolffe – Good Kind

5/5

On his latest release, Good Kind New Orleans based artist Wesley Wolffe draws inspiration from the current era of post punk, with a sound reminiscent of acts such as Deeper, Ovlov, and Cola, yet pulls at the loose threads of the genre to reveal a sound that’s fully individual.

The first track of the album,“Trinkets” starts out with an isolated guitar riff that eerily piques interest. Upon the addition of a rhythm guitar, bass and drums, a chemical reaction occurs, transforming the track into a complex landscape of sound. 

The album’s single, “Streets” follows, with a catchiness and just the right amount of vocal inflection and distorted guitar to cement itself as one of my favorite tracks. Songs to follow such as  “Boulder” and “Dog House” also drew me in, with their ability to swing from gritty verses into a chorus or pre-chorus characterized by bright melodies. 

The overall composition of the album feels like a display in patch work, with each song (and even each aspect of the songs) serving as a unique square on a quilt, stitched together into a miraculously cohesive finished product. The album harnesses a specific tone and style, but Wolffe is able to divert from that familiarity to bring morsels of musical confection that keep listeners coming back for more.

While all of the instrumentation is enthralling in its own right, the guitar parts are what stand out the most on each track. With the lead guitar paving the way with unwavering melodies and the rhythm guitar adding complexity with bouts of distortion, a perfect equilibrium is achieved. Listening to the guitars alone, the album proves itself as a beautiful juxtaposition-grounded and unpredictable, perplexing yet simple.

As for the rhythm section, the bass sneakily creeps in, acting inconspicuously as the backbone of the album, while the drums are interesting when cued into, especially the noticeable inclusion of the cymbals which added to the overall atmosphere of sound.

Upon first listen, Wolffe’s vocals didn’t immediately jump out to me in any prominent way, but with further listens, a depth and vulnerability is revealed in them. Not only are the lyrics that he sings discernibly raw, but the way in which he sings them reflects this same vulnerability. Throughout most of the tracks, Wolffe’s vocal style remains rooted in a baritone range, but at times strays away to higher octaves and plays around with slight changes in inflection to convey specific emotions.

Good Kind makes for the perfect introduction into Wolffe’s creative mind, one that I am excited to learn more about with future releases.

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