Unsigned Butter (label)
19 September 2017 (released)
08 October 2017
You're visiting an old friend in a new town. They show you around their city, getting wrapped up in various nighttime escapades. Everything has the crackling energy of the unfamiliar and you attack the night with no fear of the coming dawn. There are no hometown responsibilities to haunt you, no ghosts in the walls. After varying courses of food and wine and whisky and music, you end up at a house party in an old neighbourhood where a bohemian collective have built a community. Strings of Christmas lights criss-cross the backyard, cheerful dogs mingle with the crowd. Someone's playing acoustic guitar on a picnic table and it actually doesn't suck. Tomorrow, they're headlining the Town Hall, tonight it's Chez Casey's porch. You venture inside and settle into a weird bamboo chair. Someone passes you a joint and you start talking about 1920's surrealists. You decide you don't want it to end, the conversation lasts years. Your lives merge and you've found a new home. In the background, New Sincerity Works is playing.
Wonder Lust, the latest record from Cincinnati indie rockers, New Sincerity Works is full of the kind of ethereal yet familiar songs that provide a soundtrack to those daily miracle moments as described above. Songs to haphazardly stumble upon love to. To roll and tumble through its ups and downs and come out a new person on the other side.
Wobbling playful synths give way to earnestly strummed acoustic guitars and pensive suspended chords. Singer and bandleader, Mike Tittel details falling backwards into love on the opener, 'I've Got You'. “I'm getting lost in the right direction/There's no need for a course correction/ Baby, I found you”. The band sucks in for the verses so it can explode into fireworks of elation for the triumphant choruses.
The album maintains a fairly even clip throughout, mostly sticking to that mid-tempo rock to keep you entranced. 'Midwest Reverie' takes stock of hopes and dreams while landlocked in the middle of America. Symbolically, the all-American melodies are interwoven with spacey tangents. Tittel's lyrics are once again plain-spoken yet intelligent and poetic. The closer 'Hearts Transplanted' as expected has that string of melancholy sewn through a track that looks back on a love that sparked, grew and faded out. You look back with a certain fondness but with an acceptance that what's past has past. The final thought: “And you're not just anyone, anymore” sticks in the mind after the last notes ring out.
New Sincerity Works have created an album that has captured a certain magic. That ephemeral spark and its multitude of tangents. The band does incredible justice to Tittel's songwriting, being at times a powerhouse, lifting the track's to new heights and at times, perfectly transparent, allowing the lyrics and emotions to take centre stage in their rawest form. Look for it in the background of the next Sofia Coppola movie.