Thu. Feb 2nd, 2023

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Album Review: Wind In Sails – Morning Light

2 min read

“Have some faith in yourself, my love”. These are the first words you can hear when listening to Wind in Sails’ sophomore full-length, optimistic even in its title, Morning Light. In his solo acoustic rock project, Newport, RI-based singer-songwriter Evan Pharmakis shows a totally different face of his musical creativity than the one he used to put in his former post-hardcore band, Vanna.

Wind In Sails - Morning LightRecorded at Apparition Sound Studios in Thompson, CT with producer Chris Curran, this 11-track album is pervaded by a sense of melancholia, yet most of the lyrics deliver a message of positivity and optimism. The songs are reduced to the bone and mainly consist of an easygoing acoustic guitar and Pharmakis’ own quiet, gentle voice. Side by side is a perfect example of this softly spoken kind of singing, punctuated by the guitar and reverberated to make it even more evocative. The words are personal and intimate, the melodies alternate ballad-style and upbeat rhythms, although the general mood is mellow.

Opener Push and Stove is a short gem, in which Pharmakis shows a silvery voice and addresses a person he loves with the reassuring tone of an old expert of living life: “When sadness sits on your shoulders it weighs you down/ Another night feeling deeply underwhelmed/ But I see a light shining in those deep green eyes”. “I heard all your lies echoing throughout every road/ And I learned my lesson well”, sings the narrator in Level Head, only to reveal then that he does all he ever can “to keep a level-head” – it’s easy to see the person behind these heartfelt lyrics. Lucid State has a richer, more complex arrangement and a brighter rhythm, even though the melody ends softly. In this sense it is similar to the last track of the record, Wild Child, the folkest song in the album.  Murder Backwards, again, has a slow pace and follows the pattern of voice plus guitar. Heart-to-heart duet Hanging Over You leaves us a sense of nostalgia and despair – “A hollow calm sets in/ For this lonely boy in a frightened mans skin/ And it took time to learn/ When it all comes down to it/ We don’t get back what we give”.

Morning Light is an honest record, mostly sung sotto voce, suitable for long, cold winter days. Anyway, it is way too monotonous. No song really stands out, no melody gets stuck in the head. And this is the reason for my rating.