There are certain bands that just feel like autumn. A band whose music feels like a hot cup of coffee on a cool November day, like warm sun on cold skin.
Wester Green have always been one of those bands for me. And their new track, “Beacons,” is certainly no exception. [I am currently drinking a hot cup of coffee on a cool November day, but that has nothing to do with this description. Total coincidence.]
For those of us who have had the pleasure of seeing the Richmond quartet perform over the past year or so, “Beacons” may sound familiar as it has been a climactic mainstay in their live show for a while.
The recording features new instrumentation, beginning with timid banjo and guitars as singer and primary songwriter, Adam Watkins, sings in a hushed falsetto, “Tether me to the sea / Currents come take me”.
Ethan Uhrig’s percussion quietly kicks in and the song settles into a calm groove, like a canoe slightly swaying on calm waters. Then Watkins’ tone takes a darker turn, introducing the song’s mantra, “Oh my god, this is Heaven / Oh my god, this is Hell”.
While “Beacons” follows a relatively straightforward, bell-curve arc—steadily ascending towards its climax before calmly resolving—the song is rich with surprises.
The dynamic shifts are unexpected but not jarring. The saxophone, performed by Clay Trinkle of Dharma Bombs, complements the otherwise mostly traditional folk instrumentation. Watkins’ voice shifts from a cooing falsetto to a firm, yet non-aggressive, bellow.
“Beacons” is a perfect taste of what to expect from Wester Green’s debut LP, Black Creek; the band’s first proper release since 2015’s See the Forest EP.
For now, pour yourself a hot cup of coffee and blast “Beacons” at a reasonable volume in the cool autumn air.
Black Creek is out Friday, November 17, on Crystal Pistol Records.
The album release show will be the following day, Saturday, November 18, at Strange Matter
with Illiterate Light, Blush Face and Recluse Raccoon.
Cover photo by Craig Zirpolo