If there’s one thing that has always rang true for The Wednesday People, it’s that they’re dynamic, and constantly shifting. This can be said about their music, their members, and their direction as a band. That fact is more evident than ever, with their release of Yesterday’s News. The title illustrates a lamentable irony; a harsh realization that although it’s their first full-length LP, it also happens to be their last.
The People got their start as a humble folksy group, singing songs of the woods and mountain men. After a handful of years and a few handfuls of lineup changes, they’ve since morphed into a powerful and passionate groove rock outfit, wailing about smooth grooves and Mississippi Blues. Yesterday’s News, the inaugural LP for the group, is a fluctuating ride over a wide range of turbulent and flowing sounds.
It starts things off quick with “Funky Now,” an upbeat track lead by guitarist Elijah White’s shouting, funk-style vocals reminiscent of James Brown staccatos, shortly proceeded by Waylen Perkins’ ripping saxophone. Things mellow out a little moving into “SOT”, a tender tribute to a loved one, which eventually rolls into a blaring wave of growing energy. The album maintains a lot of this same accelerating mood through tracks like “You Got What I Need,” “Mother Nature,” and “Mississippi Blues” Parts 1 and 2.
They give you a quick break on “Bedroom Boogie,” an acoustic instrumental showcasing technical riffs from White. They quickly get loud again on “Stand Up” and “Hidden Music,” before closing with another acoustic track. This time we hear from singer and guitarist KJ Ward on “Ain’t No Going Back,” wherein he explains his frustrations with being held back “like a dog on a leash,” and threatens to run off to Greece under such pressure.
The main takeaway from this album is undoubtedly the musical technicality and expressionism. Demonstrating influences from blues, jazz, funk, and rock, each track depicts intricately meandering solos from multiple instruments and creatively shifting moods and rhythms, often courtesy of drummer Josh Arena. This is the type of album that you put on and do nothing else but listen to it. It’s incredibly difficult not to be immediately sucked into its infectious and magnetizing invitations, so just close your eyes and let yourself be engulfed by a wall of exploding and dynamic sounds. It’s the perfect record for what we here at Coma Collective like to call falling into a ‘music coma’.
The prowess displayed on this record further aggravates the bitter feelings of remorse that it will survive as the last of its kind. Right now in their absence I may be experiencing feelings like “a horse with no water / I hope you can find your way / So hot and dry,” as White describes on “Funky Now.” However, it’s slightly more comforting that the group’s end is attributed not to that of ‘creative differences’, but rather an amicable understanding that each member is being drawn to a different path. As The Wednesday People wander off to explore new horizons, Yesterday’s News will live on to remind us of their remarkable musical chemistry and camaraderie. I know the drought won’t last long, since each Wednesday Person is already working on new projects that are brewing up new tunes. Follow @ComaCollective on Twitter to see where they all end up.
Yesterday’s News will be available tomorrow, 10/3/18. Catch Ward ripping bass with Sammy Brue the same day, tomorrow at Mississippi Studios.