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. There’s something about that original phrase, though– alt-country — that couldn’t be better suited for Anders and Kendall’s 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 “We’re on Fire Babe”, which kicks off with a laidback electric guitar and organ. We’re also quickly introduced to the lovely contrast between Parker’s dry, gruff voice, and Meade’s 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.
There’s an attractiveness to Wild Chorus’s calm unwinding. While there are up tempo tracks with a more rock sensibility (“Let’s 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 it’s gone.”
Essential Tracks: “We’re on Fire Babe”, “Play It”