In music you can find that many artists wear their emotions on their sleeves. While it is more common than not, few let them culminate within their songs as does the music of Flock of Dimes. The solo project by Jenn Wasner of Wye Oak has given us plenty to be excited about with their last release Like So Much Desire. However Wasner is back with a new album Head of Roses that exemplifies emotion in music without bogging you down in the details. Across ten tracks Head of Roses showcases the songwriting of Wasner while evoking some honest emotions at the same time.
The opening of the album has these angelic vocals on “2 Heads.” With a dual approach, the words are tattooed on your brain above the soft harmonics of the music. The vocal heavy track contains swirls of tones that flow about, almost like a freeing breeze that comes when you need it. Digging in deeper, the following song “Price of Blue” has these guitar squeals that get things going with a warbled presence. Here the words are just as deep yet they aren’t the driver for the song. The mixed effect of the vocals and the music being together moves the upbeat pace of the song along with ease. There’s a magical presence to these songs where Wasner is digging deep into her soul and we’re getting the best parts through the songs. Where “Two” has this pop synth sound, and “Hard Way” lifts the vocals in a new way, the presence of emotion feels like it’s at the top of everything.
The tenderness of “Lightning” comes across in its own way though. Just the vocals and a guitar, there’s an organic approach here that sucks you in and demands your attention in an honest way. This occurs again on “Awake for the Sunrise” where the singer songwriter vibes are strong but not heavy. The sway of the vocals and the beat get met with acoustic guitar and symphonic touches that leave you breathless in a way that has this Emmylou Harris feeling without seeming lifted. Though of the ten tracks we found ourselves adoring the sound of “No Question” the most. The harmonic vocals lend to holding its own sound, breaking free and developing into something of another making. Swirling tones echo throughout, siphoning deep within itself and coming out the other side shimmering and bathed in a mix of brass and deep resonance.
Head of Roses is available to purchase in various formats directly from Sub Pop Records. It’s also available in all digital outlets or to stream on all services.
Image Credits: Photo by Graham Tolbert.