Leland and the Silver Wells release self-titled LP
Leland and the Silver Wells are making a major splash in the pop music world this September with a nine track eponymous LP that is exactly what college radio has been hungry for, but the hype around the band’s signature style of neo-psychedelia hasn’t been relegated strictly to the underground. From coast to coast, critics and fans alike have been abuzz with talk of singer/songwriter Leland Ettinger’s return to the studio after a ten year break, and after listening to her new record it’s hard to dismiss the media chatter as mindless noise. To put it simply, there’s no minimizing the ripple effect this album will have on indie rock, but its reach is likely to extend to the mainstream and beyond.
Ettinger has remained just as enigmatic in her lyrics as she ever was in this new record, but the melodies that accompany them have become a little bit more straight forward since her initial debut back in 2004. This album trots from song to song at a swaggering pace, not slowing down for even a second to let us lose focus of the engaging sonic thread that ties each track together. This is the epitome of interactive art, and Ettinger’s uncompromising demand of our attention is impossible to ignore once she gets into her groove.
Leland and the Silver Wells is fairly accessible to casual fans, which is quite the achievement considering how stirring a concept it’s built upon, but it’s also a fascinating listen for more intellectually minded music enthusiasts as well. “Luck of the Draw” and “Shallow Tides” alone make this album a compelling purchase for the audiologically intuitive, but tracks like “Lost My Way” are the reason why people devote years to studying music in hope of understanding its command over human emotion. If you’ve got the time, you could spend countless hours dissecting these compositions one by one.
The opening track “We Dissolve” is an excellent example of the burgeoning influence of experimentalism on contemporary pop music as a whole and is a good sample of the style that Leland and the Silver Wells are creating an entire identity around. We’re living in an age of freethinkers, and those freethinkers aren’t just designing convenient new apps for our cellphones. They’re making music in and outside of the studio, and those searching for evidence of their labor should look no further than this LP to find what they seek.
This record is a hallmark of the neo-psychedelic revolution that is transpiring right now both in and outside of the United States, and anyone who wants to dismiss this movement as merely a trend should take a look at what’s going on at the ground level. Among grassroots DIY artists, Leland Ettinger never stopped being one of the most reliably intelligent and articulate songwriters of her time. Her absence has left a gaping void in the American underground, and her return to the spotlight could not have happened at a more important moment in music history.