There’s a glut of great and high-profile records coming out this week and next, and it would be a shame if The Wilderness of Manitoba‘s Islands of Echoes gets lost in the shuffle. Over the course of their three releases, the band has constantly impressed me with their ability to write new songs that sound like they’ve been in existence forever. Few of their contemporaries are as attuned to their environment, creating music that sounds like it’s sprung from fertile patches in the Canadian Shield, blooming against all odds.
“Morning Sun” drips with crisp dew drops, kissed by the titular light that causes it to sparkle and shine like a jewel. With their trademark vocal harmonies, The Wilderness of Manitoba usher us into their geography of roots and folk landmarks, but it doesn’t take long for the listener to realize that this is a different island than the band has inhabited before. For one thing, it’s wired for electricity. “Echoes” pulses with plugged in guitars, vibrates with a heartwarming hum. Without giving up the charms of Hymns of Love and Spirits and When You Left The Fire, Islands of Echoes flexes muscles that I never knew the band had. Their time on the road as been well spent, as it was while touring that many of the songs first took shape. They were finalized and polished in a proper studio for the first time in their career, bringing out the lustre and shine of quintessential WoM songs like “Golden Thyme”, and giving tracks like “A Year In Its Passing” more room to stretch expand in.
Islands of Echoes is The Wilderness of Manitoba’s first release for new label Pheromone Recordings, and is available today.
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