Think Fleetwood Mac, First Aid Kit, Of Monsters And Men and the like, and then put them to one side (though I am a huge Fleetwood Mac fan so that was hard to write) as The Wandering Hearts are firmly on the map. Although dubbed into the Americana genre, once you hear their harmonies over up-tempo beats and ballads, whatever genre you say you like you will be guaranteed that there is room to let this quartet into your musical heart.
You could say that 2017 was a bit of whirlwind. They sold out their headline show at London’s Borderline and toured with country music great Marty Stuart (and they are to join him again in Nashville in June) and supported Amy MacDonald at her big Glasgow shows. Let’s not forget them opening the day for Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty at Hyde Parks British Summertime, alongside label mates The Lumineers. And of course there was Bob Harris handpicking them as the ‘Emerging Artist’ at the most recent UK Americana Awards.
So what do they have on offer for 2018? Well, there’s their first headline tour starting at Bristol’s The Louisiana and closing out at Bush Hall In London on the 1st of March, with most dates a sell out, all in support of their debut album Wild Silence, released on the 9th February.
The album opens with the stomper Rattle, with a most memorable loop on the guitars. It would definitely work as an instrumental but then you hear the vocals of Tara, Tim, AJ and Chess come in and you are simply on to a winner. With the opening lines, ”If we took a leap of faith..,” it really is a great opener to the album. If you have read up on The Wandering Hearts previously, all you hear about is those harmonies and with the following track and first album-single, Wish I Could, it becomes apparent why people can’t stop talking about them. There are vocal harmony groups but there’s something in this quartet that makes them bypass the likes of The Shires and Ward Thomas in the British Americana field. Wild Silence is a fine mix of ballads and up-tempo, though every song is memorable and a great sing-along.
As much as Fire And Water is a great track, at the 2-minute mark, I have a mixed reaction to AJ’s yodelling attempts. It’s probably the most Country you get on the album too, which is saved when Chess and Tara lay their vocals over it. Would the track work without it though? That is the question!
The Fleetwood Mac comparisons could not be truer than with Change For The Good, with opening bars sounding like a faster version of When It Comes To Love from the Behind The Mask album. You can almost hear Christine McVie and Lindsay Buckingham taking this as their own.
The tracks that send your heart on an emotional rollercoaster are definitely Laid In The Ground and Burning Bridges. The vocal arrangements have your heart in knots at the pure beauty of it. There are many big, anthemic parts in the album too, including Heartbreak Hotel and Devil, but the standouts must be Biting Through The Wire and title-track Wild Silence. You can’t help but be completely lost in these tracks and if you include the chorus to Iona, it is almost euphoric.
With a year like 2017, it is hard to think how The Wandering Hearts could top it, but looking at how they are starting 2018,and with this fine debut album under their belts, it wont be long until the comparisons stop and The Wandering Hearts will be taken as their own. Just press play on the album from start to finish – no pauses or fast-forwards – and you will understand.