The Golden Shore

We Are The West

Timeless Elegance Records, 2018

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


Brett Hool and John Kibler formed We Are The West in Holland before bringing their sounds to Brooklyn. Now residing in Los Angeles, the duo takes up company with Elizabeth Goodfellow (Iron & Wine) on this debut album, as well as bringing in help from esteemed friends in Beats Antique, Crowded House, Fiest, and Debo Band among others.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

“Siren” starts the listen with the sound of distant waves before warm acoustic guitar and emotive vocals  sweep in. A very sparse opening with some background accordions, it's a plaintive but impactful beginning. The title track follows and brings female vocals to the affair, where atmosphere plays a key role as the song builds into a fuller display of powerful folk. This continues with the breezy sounds of “For Me, For You” and the soulful, almost vintage, bluesy feel of “Sea Of Light (Ditty Ditty).”

The middle of the album offers the darker spoken word of “More Machine Than Man,” which moves into a more forceful version of The Decemberists, and the lush, psych-influenced “Crops,”,which further exemplifies their vast talent. The album highlight “Luck Of The Sailor” resides here, flowing with a timelessness akin to The Jayhawks that is just a memorable with its casual melody.

The last few tunes continue with the sophisticated, warm sounds. “Any Day Of The Week” is a fuller song with soft horns and crashing percussion, while “From The Bower” and “The Watchers” has a live feel with minimal instrumentation. “Tonight's Tonight” ends the album with dreamy folk and light harmonica, which is yet another lovely representation of their version of Americana.

Similarities to Tom Petty, Wilco, Bob Dylan  and Ryan Adams can be found here, as well as to more recent stars like City And Colour and Blind Pilot. Regardless of any comparisons, We Are The West's meticulous use of violins, harps, accordions, and multiple vocals from both genders make this one of the best albums of 2018.

Rating: A

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© 2018 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Timeless Elegance Records, and is used for informational purposes only.