The Wild Reeds released one of my favourites songs of 2017 – an ode to how music can save your life. The three voices and songwriters which make up the band are Kinsey Lee, Mackenzie Howe and Sharon Silva, all of whom understand how to convey a special kind of melancholic euphoria. Their terrific new album Cheers continues in this same vein, exploring anxiety, illness and how to cope with the crushing reality of life.
Working with Lucius producer Dan Molad has resulted in a looser and more free sounding record than their previous albums, with less of an obvious folk/Americana influence. Songs like Moving Target and Telegraphic Mail are upbeat, catchy and a little scuzzy too. The switching of lead vocal duties is one of the things which makes this band so interesting and fun to listen to. And when their voices do meld together, usually in the chorus, they sound sublime.
What I admire about this band is how they sing about their insecurities and vulnerabilities in such an honest way. A Way To Stop is about how negative feelings can eat away at your sanity and damage relationships. It could also be a metaphor for any form of self harm really. On Don’t Pretend they remind someone / themselves / everyone to live honestly and look at the good things in your life, no matter how hard that might be. Towards the end of the album they go to therapy to Get Better but finding peace of mind isn’t easy. The grooves are too deep on this same old sad song.
Sad songs can make you feel better sometimes. And other people can help too, like on the dreamy haze of Lose My Mind. One of my favourite songs on here is the infectious PS Nevermind about being sick of the music industry / life. I’m reckless. I’m worn out. Jaded. In over my head. The tone of wry sarcasm about the state of things is also heard on Young and Impressionable and Giving Up On You.
They finish with the heart-wrenching title track, which is a desperate plea for support: ‘please keep cheering for me’. It’s such a personal song you feel quite helpless listening. As fans all we can do to make things better is just show up and applaud the band. Maybe that’s everything.
The Wild Reeds who have given us one of the most emotionally raw and real albums of the year so far. Three Cheers for sweet sorrow.
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