The Written Years: The Written Years
The Written Years: The Written Years – Like any music fan, I get pretty excited when one of my favorite bands comes out with a new release and so for me, 2013 was kind of like hitting the jackpot music-wise. That being said, what excites me even more is hearing a release from a new band and being mesmerized by it. That is exactly what has happened with indie rock outfit The Written Years. Hailing from Vancouver, Canada, their debut self-titled LP is bursting with relatable themes, warm melodies and an impeccable vocal range from frontman Wade Quellet. With lyrics like, “Now every morning train becomes a lifeboat/swarmed by people stuck searching for their homes”, I imagine this album as more of a soundtrack – not to a film, but rather to life in general, everyday life for people of all kinds who have experienced things like loss of love, finding a sense of home and various other challenges that life likes to throw at us.
The album puts its best foot forward with the song ‘It’s Not Your Fault’, arguably one of the best tracks on the effort. Just as writers need to start off with a strong lead to hook in readers, musicians need to start off an album in a way that is enticing to listeners, especially when this is the first album the band has put out to the public. The Written Years have succeeded in doing so with ‘It’s Not Your Fault’. It is a track that is drenched in melancholy and longing but still manages to keep things light with an upbeat, likable tune, not to mention the poetic lyrics that are so consistent throughout the entire album: “Ship us back to where we awoke/during cloudy days on a bitter coast/Where there’s geography/in knowing that we could be happy”. The song ends but we continue to hear the sounds of the band members talking to each other and laughing. The last remark we can hear is, “Alright, should we just start the fucking song?” and the next track, ‘I Would Miss My Home if I Knew Where it Was’ immediately begins. It’s a seamless and rather comedic transition. This element of talking between tracks is a nice little personal touch that brings the listener in and makes them feel at home during the listening experience.
A lot of the melodies are cheery and catchy but there are sullen moments on the album, as well. For example, take ‘Homesick Durge’ a song looking back at a failed relationship. I keep pointing out the lyricism but the vivid imagery and poeticism is by far one of the strongest elements of The Written Year’s songwriting. “I hope your bed stays full/with the indent that I left way back/when I stopped giving everything I had/just to keep you in the past/Can you give me that?/And let me step outside.” The heartache flows through the words and transports you back to a time when you were with someone but knew deep down that you weren’t right for one another. Another soft moment on the album follows with ‘The Phone is Ringing’.
In contrast, some of the bleakest moments in terms of content are packaged in upbeat melodies. The track ‘Hospital Rooms’ gets off to a head-bobbing, toe-tapping start but you don’t have to look much further than the title to know what this song is written about. A lovely expression of the issue of mortality and loss, ‘Hospital Rooms’ is an emotional triumph and proves that a song with clear pop influence and energy doesn’t necessarily have to cover something positive and easy to digest.
The Written Years have the potential to be something big if they play their cards right, but based on the strength of their self-titled debut, I have a feeling that these guys know what they’re doing. Overall, the album is a lovely compilation of songs that are infectious and that touch on topics everyone has experienced or will have their fair share of experience dealing with. Though we are only two months in to 2014, I can say with confidence that The Written Years is one of the most talented new bands to emerge this year and one to watch in the years to come…9.5/10