Album Review: The Wandering Hearts – Wild Silence Deluxe Edition

I often wonder why artists release ‘new versions’ of albums but then there are occasions when it is done and you thank them for it. One of these occasions is the latest from The Wandering Hearts. I write this a week after the news broke that this amazing quartet would become a trio. The deluxe version still features the baseball cap wearing, bearded Tim Prottey-Jones – he graces the album cover alongside the remaining Chess Whiffin, Tara Wilcox and AJ Dean – and on the success of the original release, it is great to see Wild Silence Deluxe celebrated as a quartet.

With the deluxe release we get the original twelve tracks in tact, which are all brilliant, as reviewed by me on its release. The only criticism I had was the yodelling from AJ in Fire And Water. After the review went live though and I listened to it more, I wish I did not be so critical as it works more with it than without. At the time I guess I thought it was cliche. Fire And Water is one of the tracks that is reworked on the deluxe edition and they have literally taken that yodelling a step further. I mean, how could they? Fire And Water (the acoustic version) is as it says on the tin and becomes a stripped back masterpiece.

The harmonies of The Wandering Hearts are very much talked about and going acoustic, we really do hear them in all their glory. Nonetheless, don’t let the first 2mins and 18secs of Fire And Water fool you, as the remaining minute is one big hoe-down. It is like they have taken the term ‘Americana’ and ran with it and it works an absolute treat. They have literally given us everything they stand for in one song – a vocal harmony treat that is full of fun.

Wild Silence, the title track of the album, also gets a re-working into acoustic bliss. Personally, his song always gets my heart, gives me goosebumps and has my hair standing on end. The harmonies, the break and when Chess takes her lead; you can really feel every part of this track and when the other guys lend their voices, it is extra goosebumps on goosebumps.

The first single release, Wish I Could, is a big thumping anthem with nice gentle tones and I couldn’t love it more. I just have visions of a huge field in the middle of nowhere under the dark sky with everyone singing back from the top of their lungs.

Ending the original release is the epic Iona and it is the perfect ending – but the deluxe edition doesn’t allow us to do that. Three brand new tracks grace the re-packaging, showing that there is more to The Wandering Hearts. In fact it could be seen as a celebration of the past and the future, which makes much more sense with the descriptions given by the band.

Til The Day I Die is said to be a nostalgic song of first falling in love and to what might have been. The drums that run through the whole track catch you out and the little licks of the guitar strings binds it all together. It is on the poppier side of things, quite like Heart Stops Beating. The clever thing about The Wandering Hearts too is that they often write dark lyrics to upbeat melodies. As Chess puts it, “it’s about ceasing the day”, therefore quite optimistic, which I think is a brilliant way of seeing the future for the now trio.

Run is the stand out track of the extra 8 songs on this release. The first strum and the first note sung hits you right where the heart is and although you hear all the voices blend over the chorus, Tara seems to have that extra edge. It is such a hard song to explain but it really can exhaust you listening to it, because of all the emotions that spill out. When emotions are stirred like that, I think it is a testament to a song.

The tracks finishing the album were recorded ‘Live In Memphis.’ The Wonder Of You is quite fitting and has The Wandering Hearts’ signature style stamped all over it. Personally I love that they closed out the album with their unplugged version of Burning Bridges, as after having seen it performed with my very own eyes and ears, let’s just say, it even shuts up those that constantly talk throughout gigs. I will surely miss seeing Tim if they continue to do this live but with the voices of AJ, Chess and Tara, I know that the next chapter is going to be just as amazing.

This is actually just the beginning of what is to come. These 20 tracks is a 1-hour and 10-minute harmony-blazoned musical masterpiece and it is the only sound you can imagine a wild silence to be.

Victoria Wai