(03 October 2011) The Wyld Olde Souls are a psychedelic folk band from New York City who blend a variety of progressive influences with their passion for late sixties British folk rock. With influences ranging from twelfth century courtly love songs to Jefferson Airplane to Fairport Convention to Loreena McKennitt, The Wyld Olde Souls have created their own sound that links music of the the past with the music of tomorrow. The band's release of a highly anticipated album Ensoulment (My Generation Productions (USA) MGP 003, 2011) will delight those that have been waiting tens years for it to appear. An album entitled Poems from the Astral Plane was released by the band in 2000.
The well produced fourteen track album has a running time of well over an hour. It is presented in gorgeous full color triple gatefold digipak. In addition to credits, the cover has stunning photographs of The Wyld Old Souls five artists: Ivy Vale (lead vocals, guitar, hand percussion); Rick Reil (vocals, electric and acoustic lead guitar, bouzouki); Melissa Davis (vocals, hand percussion); Kristin Pinell Reil (vocals, flute, guitar, mandolin) and Naren Budhakar (tablas). Musical Discoveries readers will be delighted with music from a progressive band fronted by three female vocalists and additional vocal work by Rick Reil that adds texture to the harmonies.
The Wyld Olde Souls music features both acoustic and electric arrangements but is clearly more folk than hard rock oriented. None of the tracks are epic in length but equally they are not short radio-friendly numbers either. Lush vocal harmonies span the entire recording and complement both the vocal lead and instrumental arrangements. Listen for the glistening electric guitar within the group's instrumentation.
Newcomers to The Wyld Olde Souls will be immediately drawn in with the album's opening "Ferris Wheel," whose primarily acousitic arrangements and lush multi-part crystalline vocals paint a picture of the album that follows. The further instrumentals, including a mello guitar solo, provide the essential foundation not only for the track but in the band's sound. The folk-style number "Give It To You" brings Ivy Vale to the fore where she can show her vocal chops. Listen also for Rick Reil's and Marlene Reil's (who is no longer a member of the band) harmonies in the lyrical delivery. A stunning electric guitar solo highlights the instrumental bridge.
Swirling acoustic guitar arrangements back Ivy Vale's powerful lead vocal in the verses of "Take Me There" while the band's lush backing harmonies add texture in the song's chorus. The instrumental break this time sees the guitar solo joined by warm keyboard washes. Vocal harmonies introduce "The Dam" and are joined by both electric and acoustic guitar parts and crisp percussion.
The purely acoustic arrangement track "Wyld Maiden" is reminscent of Loreena McKennitt's material. Ivy's more serious line is supported by sweet harmonies by Melissa Davis who stepped in and took over the high harmonies in the band following Marlene Reil's departure.
The acoustic arrangements on "My Lost Way" are especially rich and full of depth. A slower paced ballad, the lead vocal are complemented by an echoing electric guitar and extremely light backing harmonies.
The album's standout is a stunning and well-produced all-acoustic cover of King Crimson's "I Talk To The Wind." Listen carefully for the wide ranging vocal harmonies and Kristin Pinell Reil's incredible flute part in the song. The acoustic ballad "Anything" continues to build on the band's sound with electric guitar and rhythm section providing additional texture to the number. The band draws on Indian influences in the richly produced primarily acoustic instrumental "Love In Transition."
The short and light folk-styled ballad "Maybe" again features Ivy's lead vocal backed by rich harmonies from the other singers and lush arrangements. Strong keyboard washes add depth to the production. In a slight contrast, the even more richly arranged "Undertow" sees the band's vocalists accompanied by additional atmospheric effects. The band wheels out their broadest most powerful sounding percussion in "Worn Out." The soaring backing vocalise contributes to the light arrangement.
Kristin Pinell Reil re-emerges with a stunning flute part in the album's second standout "Where There Is Light," Ivy's powerful vocal backed by very lush vocal harmonies and progressive influenced Indian-styled arrangements. The song has a fantastic chorus. The album concludes with the accessible track, "Leave Her," a acoustic and electric guitar backed rock ballad that builds until the band is playing in full splendor.
Ensoulment is a large collection of primarily acoustic material featuring three female vocalists and contributions from Rick Reil who adds great texture to the band's harmonies. The recording spans sounds of the sixties and
modern influences alike
and is certain to appeal to folk and progressive affictionados. The self-produced album is delightful.