Wednesday - Mowing the Leaves Instead of Piling ’Em Up Music Album Reviews

Wednesday - Mowing the Leaves Instead of Piling ’Em Up Music Album Reviews
The Asheville indie-rock quintet delivers an album’s worth of covers, revealing their influences via songs by Drive-By Truckers, Smashing Pumpkins, and Roger Miller.

Has there ever been a more troublesome key change than the one that occurs a minute and 40 seconds into Wednesday’s cover of “She’s Actin’ Single (I’m Drinkin’ Doubles)”? In the original version of Gary Stewart’s barroom weeper, the outlaw country legend seemed to be describing a sad, old routine—something that by now had become familiar enough for him to take a little comfort in sharing with the person on the barstool beside him. But in Wednesday’s take, listen for that turnaround after the first chorus, when the whole band starts winding up like some ancient, rusting machinery. You get the sense that tonight, for better or worse, might be their breaking point.

“She’s Actin’ Single” is just one of the songs that the Asheville, North Carolina, indie-rock quintet transforms on its new covers album, Mowing the Leaves Instead of Piling ’em Up. The follow-up to 2021’s excellent Twin Plagues, it’s the type of collection that, in a lesser band’s hands, might feel like a stopgap release: a low-stakes way of shaking off the jitters after a breakthrough. Instead, Mowing the Leaves feels crucial to Wednesday’s evolution, running through their influences—classic country, 1990s alt-rock and shoegaze, 2000s alt-country—to illustrate what the band draws on to create its signature blend.

Led by vocalist and guitarist Karly Hartzman, Wednesday have a knack for wrapping fragile, well-crafted songs in cozy blankets of noise. Many of their recordings are showcases for the extraordinary interplay of Hartzman and guitarist MJ Lenderman alongside lap steel player Xandy Chelmis. That key change in “She’s Actin’ Single,” for example, is propelled by whining electric leads, making the instrument sound equally dangerous and dejected—you don’t know whether to offer a helping hand or back away in case they start kicking.

If that’s the balance you look for in rock music, then the selections on Mowing the Leaves will suit you like an expertly crafted mood playlist. When Wednesday plays “I Am the Cosmos,” they make Chris Bell’s signature song feel even more doomed and alone, trading his wide-open mountain vista for a claustrophobic bedroom of warped keys and fuzzed-out guitars. In their version of Drive-By Truckers’ alcoholic’s lament “Women Without Whiskey,” they tear into action at the end of each verse: More than Lindeman’s plainspoken delivery, the moaning guitars bring to life its imagery of exorcizing demons and drinking deep in the grave.

As ambitious as these covers can be, the best moments maintain a feeling of unrehearsed chemistry, the way a familiar song at the end of a live set can break the tension. Classics by Smashing Pumpkins and Medicine are natural fits, but other choices reveal new wrinkles in the band’s sound. Their take on Roger Miller’s “Lock, Stock and Teardrops” begins with Hartzman strumming her guitar alongside Chelmis’ tentative lap steel, as if she’s teaching it to her bandmates for the first time. After a swell of feedback, you can hear them individually try to recreate its heartbroken shuffle with the tools they have on hand: an inquisitive bassline over the second verse, a chugging riff to carry the chorus, a musical break of layered solos, chasing each other toward a queasy harmony. “We tried our best to pay our respects,” Hartzman said of the experience, “but at the end of the day you can’t exactly replicate the magic of any of these tracks.” And yet, performances like these manage to feel inspired and original, capturing a magic all their own.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Wednesday - Mowing the Leaves Instead of Piling ’Em Up Music Album Reviews Wednesday - Mowing the Leaves Instead of Piling ’Em Up Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on March 28, 2022 Rating: 5


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