As a teaser before the release of their debut album, Wagjammer have put out ‘The signs’, a 4 track EP which showcases not just their up-beat, folk-influenced, musical styles but also their love of Fleetwood Mac themed story telling about interpersonal relationships.
Compositionally, The Signs embark on an ambitious path, aiming to tell the story of a relationship from different perspectives and at different moments in time. Focused on the development/destruction of a male/female relationship (brought to life through alternative lead vocals from Glenn and Wendy Young), each song builds on top of the previous one, creating a call and response, conversational, form of narrative. Cleverly done, with fully formed characters, the resulting EP is well constructed and consistently engaging.
Starting with the Mersey beat drumming of ‘Still life’, the EP takes you on a journey of the emotions which comes from missing someone even though they’re still there. Upbeat, and slightly rocky, this is a strong introduction into the world of Wagjammer, with kudos going to the solid drum pattern and the slight, low in the mix, emotive lead vocal. Second track, the responsive, ‘Somethings gotta change’, finds Wendy demonstrating her sense of loss at being a taken-for-granted lover looking for something more from a relationship slowly crumbling into comfort and conformity. Wistful, regretful and longing, it’s an interesting confessional narrative about being stuck in a relationship which you don’t want to leave whilst acknowledging that what you have is not want you want….
Which is shame given the nonchalant, dismissive, response given to such honesty on the follow up ‘Katie what’s wrong with you?’, the strongest track on the EP. Lively and upbeat, and with emotional range reminiscent of Paul Heaton’s finest hours, ‘Katie’ finds our male author finding supposed humour in moments of seriousness. Scared to be honest, our male leader blunders his way into passive/aggressive behaviour. It’s a tactic which you know just isn’t going to work, and clearly doesn’t given the response of our female lead on final track ‘The Signs’. Underpinned by impressive Roger Mcguinn styled folk guitar work the story is brought to it’s ultimate conclusion; an outcome I won’t spoil here.
As a debut EP ‘The Signs’ arrives fully formed, interesting, complex in it’s creation but simple in it’s listening. Adventurous and stylish, this is a story, which could be listened to again and again.