The announcement that the front person of a band has decided to write and release music as an individual, sometimes under their given name or, perhaps a different stage name (e.g. Anberlin’s frontman, Stephen Christian, also has music as Anchor & Braille.), is often followed by a series of common questions along these lines:
What style of music will the solo songs be?
Will the solo music be anything like [OTHER BAND]?
Does this mean [OTHER BAND] is over?
Today, as Will McCarry of Washington D.C.’s Wylder releases a debut single under his own name titled “Green Eyes,” one might think the same line of queries awaits the singer-songwriter. However, McCarry took it upon himself to address and quell curiosities in the time leading up to the song’s premiere. Those long a fan of Wylder need not fear its demise. Nor does anyone need to anticipate a style deviation of U-turn level proportions. Continuing to embrace the strengths of his natural vocal timbre, McCarry’s first solo songwriting venture hovers at a distance not too far from that of Wylder’s indie folk foundation, while widening its tonal net to end up a better fit as singular work than a piece curated to Wylder’s established sonic personality.
In truth, “Green Eyes” isn’t actually an entirely new creation – McCarry has had it in his back pocket for quite a few years, preceding band endeavors that he took part in even before Wylder. Though for the sake of those here, the song might as well be brand new, particularly considering McCarry re-recorded and arranged the whole piece from the ground up. Standing alone, this nearly four minute song unfurls with little musical bits and pieces, sometimes not appearing to slide into perfect place with one another. The result is an aural experience that, if it were a sight laid before one’s eyes, might look like a charming assortment of gently used but warm and comforting knick knacks laid out in a collage-esuqe manner.
The rounded, warm style of guitar sounds, the snappy but relatively calm dynamic of the snare drum beat and – perhaps most mentally-inspiring of all – the high octave single-handed, twinkling rhythmic piano being allowed to peek through in the mix near the end of the song, all of it creates an endearing vintage feel – even if the mix itself doesn’t give off an overall lo-fi audio quality. Rather, it’s the sprinkling of so many different but seemingly compatible instrumental sounds, combined with McCarry’s own reminiscent musing over a past relationship, and his emotive description of some specific settings, features, or actions, that make all of “Green Eyes” feel like a momentary trip down a worn but loved part of memory lane – much like one would find themselves doing if looking through a box of old mementos, photos, and the like.
In your reflection
You could see the lemon green of your eyes
If only they were mine
And out the window
From the balcony ledges fly
Through the colorless sky
And I’ve made up my mind
– Lyrics from “Green Eyes”
The fact that “Green Eyes” technically lived a quiet, more unseen life before, and now, comes bearing a structure that pits tiny, clean plucks of mandolin melody against smooth but wider-toned electric guitar playing mirrored unison pitches between verses, through this, “Green Eyes” immediately shows an enthusiasm for multi-textural interaction. While some sounds overlap like cars passing busily but in unflinching synchronicity across a four way intersection, others neatly create contrast between melody and harmony lines. During a prominent chromatic passage in the chorus, for example, McCarry’s voice slides upward three steps while some of the backing instrumentation moves downward and away. Not only does this create a rich harmonic line but does so with the end result of a wider tone stage as opposed to the conventional default of playing in thirds to create harmony.
A first listening glance might not seem dramatically different from what familiar fans are used to hearing from McCarry. However, it’s absolutely worth noting that the aesthetic of “Green Eyes,” which is forged from the sparks of McCarry’s arranging and performance definitely inspires a mentality and emotional niche that stands apart from other material.
Check out “Green Eyes” below and be on the lookout for more from Will McCarry!
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