Check your vinyl collection, and you might find it coated with desert sand. Villanelle & The Northern Wonder have a sound that isn’t desert rock, but isn’t Joy Division as well. They are their own sound by now, and it’s evolving like a deck of poker cards at the table. You can’t place your finger on one suit you quite like with their collection. This is their latest EP is called Mirage.
Maybe the kind of sound you love is just around the corner. The opening track is called Desert Bloom, and it seems like Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats had left a tiny pouch of inspiration. The sound, however, leans on New Wave as well, and brings the morose stratosphere that would cradle a december bloom.
As you hear the psychedelic groove behind Gold Standard, you couldn’t care for the genre classification. You’re in the classic rock category, maybe something Dan Auerbach would compose. The bassline is the spine, the cool drum line giving the magic spark as well. The piano accent with the verse and chorus section gives a nice accent to something that is so rhythm reliant. Blue Eyed Boy makes a mystical question using some notes. There is a touch of The Animals with the chorus and keys, a pull back to a time before all of us. Where rock n roll was born, in a way. Villanelle & The Northern Wonder alter their sound in each song as though they are a diner jukebox. Unlimited entertainment to all.
A dash of desert
Speaking of entertainment, they close the EP with Popcorn. It is the element of suspense, of weaning a narrative, that there is commentary on. It is as entertaining as something you’d need popcorn for. The notes and chords just blend into each other, the tone coming from a decade passed. You’re riddled with questions about their compositions, and most importantly this. Why aren’t they sharing the secret of time travel with us?
Maybe it’s black magic. Maybe it’s that pact rock bands sign with the devil. If an EP has to sound this great, sacrifices have been made. Effort has been put in. And they have arrived what is very easily, a gold standard. Filtered reference, I know. Sometimes worth the cringe.
You won’t find a collection like this everywhere, I tell you. At the risk of sounding like a phone salesman, there is something about this curated sound that is the tip of the needle. Risky, but cuts through all of the bunkum. You can listen to Villanelle & The Northern Wonder with their 2021 EP onwards, Dark Days at the Grand. You better bet they’ll always surprise you:
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Self professed metalhead, moderately well read. If the music has soul, it's whole to me. The fact that my bio could have ended on a rhyme and doesn't should tell you a lot about my personality.