"You Are Light" by The Silver WyeReview
Last November, in "Hot Music Live", I reviewed a song called "Pick Me Up" by an entity calling itself The Silver Wye. I liked it & I hope you were sufficiently moved by my recommendation to check it out yourselves.
I imagine that you may be looking forwards to hearing The Silver Wye play that tune live: but if so, you may have been disappointed to date as they have not yet made their live debut (as far as I am aware). Nevertheless, you may have heard it played in concert (as I have been lucky enough to) by its creator Wes Finch, using his own name for the purpose.
Now, in the following year, The Silver Wye are back with a new single, namely "You Are Light". Wes sees the moniker as a chance to put a little distance between himself & the expectations of his long time fanbase who probably see him more within a folk tradition and thus to explore new approaches to writing, instrumentation & performance, principally (at least for now) in a more electronic style. This exploratory & emancipatory process of course allows for a more loose collaboration with a wider range & pool of musicians on a track by track basis. Thus while "Pick Me Up" was crafted with Leo Steeds and Luke Dibbs at The Milking Parlour Studio in Warwickshire, "You Are Light" has been wrought at a session at Crooked Room studio in Yorkshire with producer Isaac McInnes and Bradley Blackwell, the bassist in The Howl & The Hum.
So what about "You Are The Light"? Well it is a bit of a jolt to hear a voice as well known as Wes' as processed as it is here: and what's wrong with being surprised after all? Surely that just increases the emotional impact of a song? The electronic sounds in fact to some extent again endow the track with the iciness I wrote of in regard to its predecessor, but unlike that song, I find no traces of detachment here let alone possible alienation. I'm not sure the singer is lost in the city any more: possibly he's escaped to the countryside?
Many classic Wes elements are present and correct: the sensibilities, poetic lyricism & the beauty of the melody. What is different is the soundscape. Working with a bass player inevitably means that that instrument is a very significant presence in the arrangement & it is a strong contrast in its heavily processed sound to that of the acoustic double bass Wes has been featuring on recent work with the Mechanicals Band courtesy of John Parker. The overall feel, though bass orientated is a long way from a dance track & in fact I rather liked the simplicity of the arrangement: the sounds are unusual & have impact because of the clarity of the production: you can hear all the elements & appreciate them. It's not a dance track, it's not really "dream pop" nor "electronic rock" (thank you Soundcloud) not to my ears, though I can accept "moody". It in fact is informed by a folk sensibility yet by no means shackled to the traditional forms nor expectations of such a genre. It's just a beautiful & idiosyncratic song, which might even be a paean to someone or something...
Oh & one final bit of good news: look out for Silver Wye live dates in 2020.....