‘When The Ink Dries’ from the beguilingly named, West My Friend(March 24, 2014)
That’s what I like to read ‘… conceived in a Victoria café’ bands need a particular point of genesis. The band in this instance is the beguilingly named, West My Friend with their album ‘When The Ink Dries’. Any attempt at categorisation of either is at best fruitless and at worst misleading. There’s so much divergence and innovation in their music it’s best to listen, go with the flow and enjoy the experience.
That flow includes contemporary folk grown from long established roots, explorative lyrics, fresh and exciting four-part harmonies. There’s also an individual melange of music and style that embraces levels of eclecticism some might find hard to cope with, while others will fall rapidly under its spell. Those responsible for the incantation are Eden Oliver (guitar, flute, vocals) Alex Rempel (mandolin, vocals) Jeff Poynter (accordion, vocals) and Adam Bailey (bass, vocals) plus the selected inclusion of horn and string sections.
The title track ‘When the Ink Dries’, with its clear eco-warning, sets you into your journey with the band, leading into ‘The Tattoo That Loved Her Anyway’ with the signature vocal complexity and instrumental dexterity that marks their style. Eden Oliver's startling voice opens the expansive‘Thin Hope’ and through blending of horns into the mix, it creates a multi-layered experience. There’s a more accessible touch to ‘My Lover’, filled with a bouncy ebullience that cannot fail to attract a contrast to the mix of kindness and belligerence within ‘Lady Doubt’, and the inexplicably enjoyable narrative of ‘The Cat Lady Song’.
West My Friend and their album ‘When The Ink Dries’ presents style, invention and originality, certainly worth taking time to absorb.
Reviewer: Charlie Elland