Title - The Wandering Hearts
Artist - The Wandering Hearts
For those not in the know, London country/folk/pop group The Wandering Hearts have followed in the footsteps of Ward Thomas, the Staves, and the Shires as part of the vanguard in the new British Americana scene of the mid-2010s.
The seeds of the band were sown in late 2015 when Tara Wilcox and Tim Prottey-Jones found themselves singing at the same gig, and immediately hit it off, given their shared background. Both were hard-bitten pros: Wilcox, with years of experience under her belt, had her own singing school, while Prottey-Jones was a multi-instrumentalist, singer, and actor.
Shortly thereafter, they were introduced by mutual friends to singer/guitarist A.J. Dean (an alumnus of British rock & rollers the Bluejays) and Francesca Chess Whiffin, also a former musical theater performer.
Christening themselves the Paper Hearts, the band recorded two demo songs, Today Is Ours and Sunshine, which they uploaded to SoundCloud, leading to a flurry of immediate interest.
The deft fingerpicking, rousing choruses, dark-hued lyrics, and sweet, close vocal harmonies drew comparisons to Fleetwood Mac, whom the band later acknowledged as a major influence, along with First Aid Kit, the Civil Wars, Tom Petty, Simon & Garfunkel, and Cara Dillon.
Within a month, they had been invited to audition for Decca, who signed them on the spot. Rebranded The Wandering Hearts, probably to avoid confusion with other acts with the same name, they played a number of high-profile festival shows in 2016, and released their debut single, the bittersweet Wish I Could early in 2017.
Their eponymous debut album followed in September of that year (a deluxe edition added eight bonus tracks) and having subsequently been reduced to a trio with the departure of Prottey-Jones, the band have brought out their sophomore album, the self-titled The Wandering Hearts (out now on Cooking Vinyl).
1. Hammer Falls
2. Over Your Body
3. Build a Fire
4. I Feel It Too
8. Never Too Late
9. Tell Me When I Wake Up
10. On Our Way
This beautifully harmonic and cleverly rhythmical album opens on the difficult psychological issues of a failing relationship within the defiant Hammer Falls and then moves swiftly into the gentle rock-pop hipsway of Over Your Body, before we are introduced to the euphoric Americana of Build a Fire, the earnest balladry (that relates the strength that can be found within a partnership) of I feel It Too, the gently rambunctious Gold, and then comes the dulcet magnificence of Dolores (a song dedicated to the late Cranberries’ frontwoman Dolores O’Riordan).
More Americana-folk comes forth within the Marty Stuart and his wife Connie Smith-written Dreams (which also features Stuart on mandolin) and the foot-tapper Never Too Late, which are in turn followed by the quietly passive, hushed tones of Tell Me When I Wake Up, the upbeat, pleasing blithe of On Our Way, the album rounding out on the exultant Stardust, coming to a close on the ornate musings found within Lullaby.
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