Fans of folk music should be familiar with Wild Silence, a truly remarkable band with an engaging album that came out in 2020. The vocals from lead singer Kei’ana Nabor are absolutely stunning from start to finish. The instrumentation and composition from Joel Pritchard complete the sound. This is a folk duo you need to know.
The opening track “The Garden” has some fascinating layers to it. Of course it has the typical folk style guitar and quality vocals, but there are some more modern flourishes later in the track as well. It’s not fully traditional or fully modern; the combination is what helps it to stand out in the folk scene right now. The lyrics are an abstraction about reunification, but they still manage to get the listener to focus.
“Dead Man Walking” has an upbeat style that feels far from folk music. It’s much more like a pop indie rock tune. It’s got a lot of attitude to it, as well. The following “Dust” has an atmospheric quality that makes it feel rich and rewarding. Again moving away from traditional folk, but the string and vocal balance has a dreamlike to it on the verses.
“Wasteland” was the first song I heard from this album and honestly, it soars above the others in terms of quality. Ironically as good as Nabor’s vocals are, it’s Pritchard who takes lead on this one. The tenor lead along with a strummed guitar part feels like something from the early days of Bon Iver. Of course Nabor’s voice is incredible on the next verse. The recording makes these voices both connect and soar. I could listen to this over and over.
“Only friend” is the penultimate track on the album. It’s one of my favorites in terms of lyrics. Nabor’s penetrating vocal precision never seems to get old. The last track “Stars” is another that moves more toward modern rock than folk. There’s an edge to the composition on this one that we don’t hear in other parts of the album. Taking these final two tracks shows the versatility of this duo in terms of composition and performance.
This album shows an emerging duo that is definitely worth following. Being able to transition from different styles and do them all so well is really admirable. I think Wild Silence are at their best when they convey the resonating vocals of “Wasteland,” but I fully respect the stylistic choices on the other tracks. I am eager to watch their career unfold.