REVIEW: The Wandering Hearts – ‘Wild Silence’

The UK has a new group to be very excited about. The Wandering Hearts have been on a truly phenomenal journey over the last year or so; high-profile festival appearances, recognition from Bob Harris at the AMA Awards and a tour that’s completely sold out before it’s even begun. The buzz about Tim, Tara, Chess and AJ following their appearances at C2C last year was quite astonishing; these guys seem to be universally loved and their fan base is growing at a rapid pace.

Last week saw the release of their debut album ‘Wild Silence’, their first full-length release with Decca Records. The foursome had already impressed with their ‘Burning Bridges’ EP and had made their mark in the streaming world with the hugely successful ‘Wish I Could’ and ‘Devil’; the build-up to this release couldn’t have gone much better. With ‘Wild Silence’, they’ve delivered an absolute stunner of an album. I’d even say it’s the best release from a UK act since The Shires arrived on the scene with ‘Brave’.

‘Wish I Could’ review:

The Wandering Hearts openly admit that they don’t classify themselves as ‘country’, and this album backs that up with a massive range of influences that makes them incredibly difficult to categorise. Therein lies the beauty of their material, there’s something for absolutely everybody, and there’s an energy and freshness to their sound that you can’t help becoming attached to.

That energy hits you like a tonne of bricks when the opening track ‘Rattle’ really kicks in. The opening verse draws you in with its almost haunting guitar riff before the track comes alive with a thumping chorus that really makes you sit up and listen. They’re also the masters of harmonies; it’s totally effortless for them and sets them apart from everyone else. ‘Rattle’ is one of quite a few fiery anthems on the album, one of which has all the ingredients to be an iconic summer festival favourite, ‘Fire and Water’. It’s another one that builds from a light-hearted, delicate verse to an immensely powerful chorus (almost Mumford and Sons-ish) that could become a huge mainstream hit. A true roof-raiser that fans will relish at their live gigs.

The aforementioned diversity is on display with the beautiful ‘If I Fall’, which slows the pace right down with simply an acoustic guitar, gentle percussion and the foursome’s flawless vocal prowess. It’s got that goose bump effect and wraps you up in its warmth. The group’s natural, raw talent is exposed here and I suspect there wasn’t much auto-tune in use! The dreaminess of the melody and the quality of the delivery is enough to stand up against anything coming from across the pond right now, that’s no exaggeration. ‘Burning Bridges’ has a similar intricacy – simplistic yet so incredibly effective (check out the music video below).

The album is packed full of potential radio singles that transcend genres. ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ encapsulates a seamless fusion of pop and Americana with an anthemic, hooky chorus – “tap drips and it sounds like thunder, like thunder, like thunder”. Meanwhile, the title track ‘Wild Silence’ utilises some catchy “woah ohh” moments and a clapping backbeat resulting in a track with such drive and energy that you won’t be able to get out of your head.

‘Change For The Good’ sees them addressing the issue of today’s challenging, divisive society – I know you think it couldn’t get any worse, watching our house being torn to the ground, kingdoms rise and kingdoms are falling, watch as they’re tumbling down”. There’s a timeless feel which can be said for the whole project; I love the almost Simon & Garfunkel throwback sound here. They have the ability to transform a 60’s/70’s aura into a distinctive Wandering Hearts sound that appeals to the younger generations, it’s genius.

As UK releases go, this one will be a tough one to beat and should be a marker for all of our rising talents to aspire to. This isn’t one of those albums where you’ll pick out a few favourites, it’s a project that deserves to be heard in its entirety. This will no doubt be the beginning of an incredibly successful career for one of the UK’s brightest, most exciting acts; if there’s a way to make your debut, this is it.

Dan Wharton