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Lindley Creek Release “Whispers in the Wind”  

We’re not more than a few bars deep in the song “That Page Won’t Turn” before it becomes more than apparent how important hedonistic string play is going to be to Lindley Creek in their new album Whispers in the Wind. There’s not much to the construction of this piece – instrumentally speaking, we’re looking at a cut-and-dry performance that doesn’t try to fill the margins with a lot of fanciful nonsense. To me, it appears that Lindley Creek came with as potent a blueprint for making beat-forward roots music as a group can muster without inviting a lot of additional improv into the mix. From here,

“Every Time a Train Goes By” delivers a touch of Americana fused with traditional folk indulgence, only to turn us over to a much more metallic take on “Summer is in the Air Again” than I’ve heard before now.    “Too Bad You’re No Good” sounds much fuller in this arrangement than I would have ever expected it to, and as a retro folk piece, it’s probably the most formidable of all the tracks here. This isn’t to say that “Breathe” and “I’m Still Here” lack guts – quite the opposite is true – but instead to acknowledge how amazingly well Lindley Creek tackles a near-impossible task of making a simple song sound like a modern folk juggernaut. There’s more of a sway to the rhythm of “Empty” than was likely needed given the pushiness of the strings, to begin with, but in the grander scheme of things, it only makes the energy in the midsection of Whispers in the Wind all the stronger.   

“Empty” and “Fare Thee Well” feel like opposite sides of the same aesthetical coin, but they don’t camp on melodicism just to emphasize contrast. That’s been an unfortunate feature I’ve found in a lot of new folk records this year, but it’s missing from the entirety of Whispers in the Wind; Lindley Creek neither wants it nor needs it to make a point clear to the audience. Even a cavalier, tone-oriented number like “Satisfied Mind” can spellbind us without having to lean on the predictable neon harmonies that often adorn material of this style, and I don’t see this band ever needing to deviate from this route in their future recordings. 

Another angelic offering in the form of “If this Road Could Talk” presses us with bittersweet harmonies ahead of Whispers in the Wind’s conclusion in “We All Need Grace,” and when the tracklist has screeched to a halt, there’s a strong temptation to revisit the content we’ve just listened to if for no other reason than to relive the chills it can induce. Lindley Creek didn’t overthink every shred of material on this album, but they present it with gusto like no other act possibly could have this season. Their style is undeniable while their ongoing potential is likely to be something critics from one coast to the other are talking about in 2023, and if you’re curious whether or not Whispers in the Wind is worth the hype, I encourage you to hear it and judge for yourself. 

Mindy McCall  



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