We are the West – Regards – Engaging experimental folk duo

Regards is a short three song EP that highlights a unique brand of experimental folk music. I thought about pairing it with a few other folk albums, but honestly it stands on its own. We are the West are a wonderfully comfortable group, bringing just the right balance of sound and emotion. They are Brett Hool and John Kibler, experienced and talented for certain.

Honestly on first listen of the title track “Regards” I thought the lead singer sounds a bit like the frontman of the Wood Brothers if he ever slowed down enough to sing a soft, melodic tune. The song has a nice lyrical complexity, hinting at a difficult relationship. “Do you send my regards if there’s no hope?” It’s honest and raw in the best way possible.

“The Thin Red Line” utilizes the repetitive line “you can call on me” in creating a gentle intimacy. Using dual imagery of religion and warfare, the song is most certainly deeper than casual listeners can grasp. That said the genre-blending nature of the fiddle harmonies, vocals, and base structure all work together for a complicated but comforting track.

The last track “Hold On” is the one that most caught my attention. I love the stand up bass on it and the overall sound blends nicely. Heck, there’s even an accordion. It’s a kind of timeless sound that I know a lot of people are going to enjoy. A bit more “experimental” than the first flavor of the album, “Hold On” maintains the complex lyrical aesthetic found on the other tracks.

This is the kind of album for the sophisticated folk fan. There are not hand claps or gang vocals yelling a “kumbyah” message. Rather, it’s got layers of intricacies more akin to contemporary jazz than typical folk roots. That said, the listeners who will enjoy this album have a lot to look forward to in the coming years out of We are the West as they are clearly on the rise in their experimental folk niche.

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