Looks like I've got another Halifax based band for you guys! Unlike Barlow, who are also Halifax residents, punk quintet The Wides play on the post punk side of things rather than the hardcore side. They've been rocking around the scene for quite a few years now, playing with the likes of Jon Epworth and at festivals such as Halifax Pop Explosion. They've released material in the past, but they've finally dropped their self-titled debut full length.
Like I said, The Wides fall into more of a post punk sound than anything else, and if I were to describe them, it'd be like a much, much, much, lighter Neurosis. There are many definite differences between Neurosis and The Wides, but I can't listen to the tracks like "Drugs & Religion" without immediately bringing back memories of Given to the Rising. The Wides also incorporate some of alternative rock and a little bit of progressive rock in this release with many hook laden vocals and chordal riffing as well as some noodling around in a couple odd time signatures here and there. Regardless of what labels you'd like to use, The Wides showcase some great songwriting abilities with songs that ebb and flow, rise and fall, and most importantly sound like they have a purpose.
I have to say that between the instrumentation and the vocals on this release, I much prefer the instrumentation. That's not to say I think the vocals are bad in any sense, I just think that the arrangements for all the songs are all beautifully executed. Like I said before, a majority of the riffs sound very chordal, but I found that while one guitarist is wailing on some chords, occasionally the other brings in some faint leads that shimmer on top of the rest of the music. Something refreshing to hear is the guitar tone used here. Unlike almost everything else I listen to, the guitars on The Wides are only slightly overdriven, enough to give a satisfying crunch, but not so much that the clarity of the notes isn't there as well.
I enjoy the vocals quite a bit as well as the instrumentation. Everything sounds really natural and organic, which is even more impressive considering all the different tones that the vocalist is capable of and goes through on this album. The singing goes between ethereal and haunting, like in the ending "Voir Dire" to powerful and punchy in the minute-fifteen-second long straight punk banger "Big Stinky". I've noticed that sometimes the singing sounds a little off key, which to be fair comes along with the genre at hand (reminiscent of Neutral Milk Hotel vocals), but whether or not this technique is intentional or not, I'm not too much of a fan of it. Other than that, the vocals get nothing but praise from me.
Bomb-Ass Tracks: Fuller Terrace, Big Stinky, Drugs & Religion, Voir Dire
On a Playlist With: Arctic Monkeys, The Misfits, Neurosis
The Wides' self-titled full length debut is a really solid punk release. While it doesn't blow my mind, it does the job of delivering high energy and fun tracks to jump around and mosh to, with just enough dynamic variation to keep things interesting. I'll be keeping my eye on The Wides in the future.
You can check out The Wides' Bandcamp page with their full album here. If anyone can track them down on Facebook, please let me know and then I'll link you guys to their fan page [EDIT: Courtesy of an Anonymous reader, their Facebook page can be found here.].
That's all for now, folks! Canada still rules.