Monday, January 6, 2014

Listen: Wilder Maker - "Song for the Singer"

Introduced to Wilder Maker - the work of Gabriel Birnbaum and friends from his cover of Will Stratton's "The War is Over" on the Will Stratton's benefit album. I was pretty taken with his take so when it was announced that Wilder Maker were releasing a new album - their sophomore record Year of Endless Light, I was completely on board. It's an album of considerable length and complexity. So much so that I've only recently been able to digest it in full.

It's no secret that I'm a lover of longform pop music. If you can stretch a song out longer than 3+ minutes while still maintaining my attention, you're a better songwriter than most in my eyes. Wilder Maker's "Song for the Singer" is a 12 and a half minute sprawl worth each and every minute. Anchored by Birnbaum's smooth baritone, it pairs patient folky narratives with forward-pushing pop convention and rock interludes. That's essentially how Birnbaum and his collaborators go about gathering your vested interest in its subtle creep. It's an tuneful ebb and flow - the melodies memorable and lovingly arranged while there's a significant amount of instrumental breakdowns and solos that you're essentially always hearing something almost entirely new. It's not a cheap grab at your attention or a series of different songs stitched together under one title, "Song for the Singer" is delightfully cohesive, the push and pull utilized to highlight the talents of Wilder Maker's band members while also pushing the narrative forward.

I'm the first person to cry foul if a song is unnecessarily long but that's clearly not the case here. It all gentle rises towards a shout-sung climax which subtly reveals the genre-straddling past of Birnbaum and friends. It's a bit of a time investment but one that ultimately rewards with just how madcap the delivery is. "Song for the Singer" succeeds not only due to Wilder Maker's talents but also its commitment to form. It's a strongly recommended highlight of their sophomore record Year of Endless Light.

Listen to "Song for the Singer"now, listen/buy/download Year of Endless Light here.

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