The term alt-country has fallen by the wayside in the last 10 years. After the genre began to move in from the fringes, descriptors like Americana or roots music twisted themselves around to fit a surprising wide range of music that was maybe too twangy to be rock and too raw to be country. Theres something about that original phrase, though alt-country — that couldnt be better suited for Anders and Kendalls debut album, Wild Chorus.
Wild Chorus is the collaboration of Anders Parker and Kendall Meade and it’s not the first outing for either. Parker fronted indie band Varnaline and Meade has played with acts including Sparklehorse. The two are longtime friends, and after a lot of spitballing about recording together, they finally did.
From the first track, Wild Chorus sets a strong tone with opener Were on Fire Babe, which kicks off with a laidback electric guitar and organ. Were also quickly introduced to the lovely contrast between Parkers dry, gruff voice, and Meades softer, sweeter tones. On Sleepwalking, where the melody and mood take some Neil Finn-esque turns, Meade sings the lead vocals showing that whatever the balance, the two compliment each other well.
Theres an attractiveness to Wild Choruss calm unwinding. While there are up tempo tracks with a more rock sensibility (“Lets Get Lost), there are also moments to breathe in the space between (“Play It”). The latter works off a low rumble balanced by a faint organ and the occasional clear ring of the guitar strings. Those guitar notes, in particular, give the song a warm, rustic edge and the two aptly summarize the album’s overall drive: Play it til its gone.
Essential Tracks: “We’re on Fire Babe”, “Play It”