In an era where Mims’ simplistic lyrics (“This is Why I’m Hot”) can actual control radio waves and high schoolers’ minds alike (the reason why is anyone’s guess), it is refreshing to know that others actually care about the beautiful craft of song- writing and music making.
Warm in the Wake – an up-and-coming indie band comprised of lead singer Christopher Rowell, drummer James Taylor Jr., keyboardist Daniel Barker and bassist Andy Barker – released their debut EP, “Gold Dust Train,” nationally Jan. 30.
And, although their lyrics are perhaps not the deepest or most thought-provoking, they carry more weight than Mims’, and it is clear that they are a band straining to making good music.
A sort of mix between Wilco, Yo La Tengo, and other lesser known – though amazingly talented in their own right – indie artists, Warm in the Wake’s music is self-described as “simple American songs that have been gently thrown into the space rock realm.”
The seven-piece EP opens promisingly with “Tame Thoughts,” a serene song about “turning/Tame thoughts/Into Wild/And the cities that we shelter in/Become a catalyst of fire,” setting an inquisitive, mellow standard (that doesn’t always hold up) for the rest of the songs.
Featuring tracks produced by Adam Lasus (Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Yo La Tengo, Helium, etc.), the band shares similar styles with these indie predecessors, though their Southern-influenced sounds (thankfully done in such a way as to enhance the music, not ruin it with country twang) aid in the process of setting them apart.
This Southern feel is especially evident in “Iron Worker.” Folksy music is interspersed with such lyrics as: “I asked an Ironworker ‘should I stick to kindness or Foucault?’ /He said ‘You should know. /It’s not Foucault and when you go wandering you should know,’” giving the peacefully upbeat rhythm a philosophical, flowers-in-your-hair carefree vibe.
Other songs lean more on the pop-influenced side. In “Hearts vs. Heads,” Rowell croons about the importance of emotions-laden hearts, vis-a-vis minds that get easily swayed, in the game of love.
“But hearts.they give it away /Hearts get lifted every day/ Hearts rarely change their minds/ And hearts want one another all of the time.”
Despite the catchy (though not very substantial) lyrics and energetic beats, this song seems just out of grasp of any merit, proving that perhaps Warm in the Wake should stick to the more creative folk music and steer clear of anything remotely pop-based.
Lead singer Rowell credits (on the band’s Web site) Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Brian Eno and “a few other superheroes, not only for their art but for their ‘craft’ as well.writing a simple song – and then trying to make it ‘magical’ in a way that goes beyond just strumming the guitar.”
Even if not all the songs are “magical,” Warm in the Wake possesses an innate ability to subdue and impress listeners with their “simple lyrics” and well-composed style.
The band is scheduled to release a full-length album in late August after spending the spring in the recording studio.
With the potential they show in “Gold Dust Trail,” Warm in the Wake’s destiny lies in two directions: Either they make it to the playlists of young hipsters and indie lovers across the country, causing them to join ranks with other small label cult favorites; or they get lost in the over-saturated market of today’s music. Only time will tell, but hopefully it will be option No. 1.