Ol’Wylr – The Alright EP

Luke Olweiler’s solo project might be accompanied by Americana-flavored promo photos, but The Alright EP is proof that looks can be deceiving. These four tracks follow in the gossamer indie rock of bands like Eager Seas, Mew, Motherfolk, or From Indian Lakes. This is more in mood than specific sonic shape, but rest assured there’s a cinematic quality carried along by crescendos, fluctuations in temperament, and airy vocal processing. It’s a brand of indie that feels familiar yet still not explored fully.

The title track kicks things off to strong effect. A slow, ballad intro unfurls into steady guitar chords, a chorus climax, and plenty of vivid lyrical imagery. That’s something Olweiler does well – paint pictures of time and place, specific seasons of life and circumstances.

“High Dollar” picks up the energy a bit, showing a bit more of an alt-rock bite at times. There are even hints of blues in the guitar lines. This track has plenty of personality which manifests largely in the layered vocals and lyrical delivery. It’s fun.

The third track is another change up of sorts. “City Streets” is minimalist and airy, relying heavily on acoustic guitar and piano. Electric guitar and some drums kick in toward the end, but even so, the dynamic isn’t changed all that much. It’s definitely a bit of a slow burn and arguably the weakest track of the bunch, if simply for its length and a lack of gradation to successive elements.

The EP closes on “Sunset Highway”, and it’s a perfect closer. It’s some odd amalgamation of Paper Route and Silicone Boone’s “Europa” (the similarity is uncanny on the chorus). Needless to say, it’s nostalgic, bittersweet, visual, huge. Much like the title track, there’s layered and huge energy. But like “High Dollar”, there’s magnitude as well. It even has some lyrics nods that help bring things full circle.

Ultimately, this is a beautiful debut EP. Olweiler shows plenty of depth in layered compositions, and his slice-of-life lyrics are concrete enough to give vivid imagery of the joys and pains of normal life. These songs are like a warm hug on a winter’s night – they don’t quell any storm outside, but they’re imminent and vulnerable. They’re near. And they set pride aside. And in a world of talking heads and influencers, sometimes this makes all the difference.

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