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LeLand and The Silver Wells “Straight to Your Town”

The mood is quite dreamlike in Leland and the Silver Wells’ new album Straight to Your Town, and this isn’t because of the potent guitar-born psychedelia in songs like “Take It Down the Line” and “What Comes Around” alone. From one composition to the next, the tracklist in Straight to Your Town feels designed to get us to a place of cerebral thought, where lyrics have not two but three or four different meanings depending on how you’re feeling when you listen to them. Multidimensionality is implied more than anything else in this LP, and it doesn’t take an expert critic to appreciate it.

Leland and the Silver Wells do not restrict their creation of imagery in “Sweet Misery” to lyrical output alone, but instead make a point of binding rhythm with harmony to develop an atmosphere in line with the story they’re trying to tell. This isn’t a group that one could describe as being singer-centered nor reliant on the kind of over-the-top showmanship a lot of rock bands have resorted to resurrecting in an attempt to align themselves with the legends of this genre. Tracks like “Saving Grace” use texture and tone the same to draw us near, which is not true of most pop songs making their way onto the charts right now.

I love how crisp all of the guitar play in this record feels, and in the acoustic “Love Is Blind” and ‘60s psych-pop tune “Take It Down the Line,” there’s an argument to be made that the instrumentation is even heavier as a whole because of how sturdy a foundation the fretwork is able to lend. It’s hard to get an authentic, full-flavored tone out of a studio session without admitting a bit of external noise into the master mix, but if there’s a band that has a good handle on how to do as much, this is it.

“Story of Love” and “A Drink,” as different as they might appear on the surface, feel like two of the more experimentally kindred tracks on this record because of how far they reach outside of the lines from what Leland and the Silver Wells have done in previous outings. This is definitely not a group that has met their plateau, and I think if there was any debate about that ahead of this all-new album, it’s going to be put to rest by the end of the summer season.

It’s usually not very easy to believe in the hype that surrounds an indie band like Leland and the Silver Wells, but after listening to Straight to Your Town I think we’re going to see a lot of naysayers and unaware audiences start to send some positive feedback this group’s way. I assumed they were going to do everything they could to build on what they started within the aesthetics of their 2018 masterpiece Leland and the Silver Wells, but I ignorantly thought it would feel more like a direct sequel than this album does. It’s a daring look and one that’s going to raise an eyebrow in numerous indie rock circles.

Mindy McCall

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