Wes Tirey – O’ Annihilator (Full Spectrum Records)

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Wes Tirey is a singer songwriter from North Carolina. O’ Annihilator  is his second album. The seven track work features a lovely cover of a Pegasus in flight in warm tones. It is traditional folk, mainly guitar but possibly featuring  banjo, mandolin, with minimal synth backing, back up vocals occasionally, trumpet and drums. The playing is simple yet effective. Voice and story are the strengths here. Wes’s voice is not a platinum award winning voice, it is folky, a voice of the people. He sits alongside 60’s and 70’s folk efforts  like Dylan quite comfortably. He is a man of today who sings about life, love and loss with a tinge of politics.

The work is a live tape recording from the North Carolina Black Mountains, possibly a cabin in the woods scenario. It certainly has that vibe. It has an old world lo fi charm, recorded at home and then further developed by Maharadja Sweets  and Andrew Weathers in  what they call a “raw edged folk balladry”.

The second track ‘Blue Ridge Mountain Blues’ meanders along like a horse on a track. It features either banjo or mandolin twangs and is very lo fi but this does not detract from the aesthetic. Place is beautifully conveyed, a log cabin high up in the hills and preparations for a long winter. It could be a work we just pulled out of a time capsule, complete with footsteps, pressing stop, stomping and the acoustics of the space.

I am quietly captivated by this quaint offering and imagine Wes at a festival in the hills singing to an introspective crowd. In  ‘A place beside you’ he sings “a deck of cards only kills so much time- I want a place beside you”. ‘Come Home’ is  quasi political social commentary “ I turn the tv on the babble of the president, rise and fall of governments, It seems  like a change is coming”. His distinct finger picking style features in most tracks with a  collection of additional instrumentation.

The title track ‘O’ Annihilator’ features a very lo fi drum take. This is the only song  with drums. The time keeping is not quite solid. The minimal instrumentation and vocal line are very distant – it has the same 2 chord progression as punk act Thrush and the Cunts ‘I’ve been contemplating suicide’, the tempo is about the same. The organ does not quite fit and masks the voice. A trumpet is a nice surprise and the back up bemoaning vocals add a nice touch, strengthening the arrangement. It is our goodbye, but the last organ chord goes for too long and is abruptly cut off, yet that could have been the production intention for authenticity.

It gave me a feel for a slower life in North Carolina. Folk fans will appreciate it.

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About Author

Catherine Meeson is a solo ambient electro / progressive folk rock songwriter/ composer from Melbourne, fascinated by the wealth of brilliance in the musical world.