The Lonely Wild, The Sun As It Comes
Musically, it’d be very easy to pile The Lonely Wild in with the ever-expanding slew of low-key country-folk acts that seem to be coming out of the woodwork these days. The more I listen to The Sun As It Comes, though, the more compelled I feel to take a step back and look again — and when I do, they don’t really fit. While a lot of their peers are content to regurgitate the same jangly guitars and soft-voiced Fleet Foxes-isms, The Lonely Wild live in a place that’s far more stark and less pastoral, more high desert than bucolic woodlands or murky hollows.
What I mean to say is that there’s far less Mumford & Sons here than Ennio Morricone, especially on tracks like the foreboding “Banks and Ballrooms,” “Come Back Down,” or “Everything You Need,” the latter of which sounds particularly like a soundtrack in search of an obscure Western, to my ears. The guitars echo and warble beautifully, evoking a windswept, lonesome landscape where you can shout and yell your lungs out and never be heard by another soul, while the drums and bass trundle along the road determinedly, trying to get to wherever the hell it is they need to go.
To be sure, there is a Fleet Foxes resemblance to be found here, too (as on the title track, especially), but when listening to bleak, ’70s-ish tunes like “Closer Than The Needle,” you’d be hard-pressed to hear it. I also hear a resemblance to the more gospel-tinged Moondoggies, but without the darkness that feels integral to that band’s sound; The Lonely Wild aren’t dark so much as brooding, intense, and desperate, the sound of a man trying to hold onto the last bit of stability as his life begins to come apart at the seams.
By the album’s end, I’m left feeling shaken but intrigued, a little rattled by the gloomy menace but enchanted by the gorgeous vocals and rambling, gone-West sound. After a few more times through, I want to be in that car, roaring down the empty highway beside The Lonely Wild as they try to find whatever it is they’re looking for.