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Rain and Laura – 2016 ( Self-released)

Reviewed by Andie Burjek

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CDs by Wylder

Wylder's "Rain and Laura" debut is a fun, uplifting endeavor that, although not primarily in the country bucket, borrows certain elements. Beneath the indie pop and folk exterior are country bones in particular guitar riffs and background instrumentals. The resulting album is an optimistic, catchy creation that uses the fun parts of country to add a little something extra to the music.

The album tells a story of a disintegrating relationship. But it's not melodramatic or mopey. It's charming and relatable. As the Washington D.C.-based band takes the listener through the initial excitement, the subtle realization that something is not quit right and the feelings of bitterness of betray that come before finally acceptance, they don't lose that hopeful tone.

The upbeat, poppy "Living Room" kicks everything off. There's a fiddle playing expertly in the background. "Now these days I feel fine/ with you in a glass by my side/ I'll swallow you down," sings lead singer Will McCarry. There's a period of chanting that screams of romantic optimism.

In a single song, "Swells," Wylder complements a country instrumental solo complete with a mandolin and fiddle with a cutesy pop instrumental complete with a xylophone. This is one example of how the band efficiently mixes and juxtaposes genres to create their own unique sound.

Just like the band is consistent in tone, they are consistent in place. Wylder uses ocean and beach imagery to further along the idea of the ending relationship. In "Bayhouse," the waves are beginning to crash. In "Strange Weather," the couple begins to realize something's off and deal with those uncomfortable feelings. In "Sunstroke," he can't get to her because she's under the waves. He realizes he needs to leave the baggage of the past relationship behind and "stumbles into the sun." In "At the End," he sings about how "The current pulled us underneath/ the rip tide ripped us out/ to a tangled coral reef where we could never drown."

This sense of place permeate throughout, and it's obvious Wylder has a clear, well executed idea for their debut.