The Accidental are a band formed…well by accident. The band consists of Stephen Cracknell, the founder of The Memory Band, Sam Genders, cofounder of the folk-inspired electronic outfit Tuung, The Bicycle Thieves’ Hannah Caughlin, and gifted singer-songwriter Liam Bailey. The supergroup’s debut, ‘There Were Wolves’ is a collaboration of 11 tracks, all done in very simple and minimalistic fashion, similar to the folksy Belle & Sebastian. It is interesting to note their debut was not done through conventional means, with all collaboration done via the power of the internet.
The album begins with the rhythm guitar driven ‘Knock Knock,’ which features the vocal lilt of Caughlin and the eeriness of Genders to create a very strange, yet simple harmony. The strangeness of it all is accentuated by a hynoptizing melodic loop that will definitely have you taken all the way to the end of the song. The title track, ‘There Were Wolves’ has garnered the group some critical praise in their native UK, where the album already has been release. The song is a subtle social commentary using wolves as an obvious metaphor for men chasing women and these wolves are chasing “magical girls” at a club after one too many drinks:
"As she was raining sparks into the room like that;
She was dancing in a neon cave with a tilted smile and a lover's laugh; Embossed upon her in the darkness;
Like a light at the edge of night beside her."
“Jaw of a Whale” is a very solemn song, a cross between Jason Mraz’s ‘Mr. Curiousity’ and throwing in the lilting nature of Jack Johnson with the cerebral nature of Dave Matthews while ‘Slice The Day’ is a harmonious ditty with no lyrics unless you count the members humming the melody. The no-words policy continues with ‘Killing Floor’; the song is easily one of the better songs on the album with the multi-layer music motif put to perfection.
Overall, the album is a very interesting and curiously enchanting listening experience; the melodies are for the most part hynoptizing and at times eerie and most have an interesting lilt to them…the harmonies are very rhythmic in fashion and help deliver a final punch to every song. If you are into the folk-exploratory pop/rock arena (especially for Belle & Sebastian fans), you must check out The Accidental. There are a few soft spots here and there but given a little time, this super side project could become a real breakout band real soon as more often times than not the unique and creative musical landscape clicks on all four cylinders. All in all, this is a pretty well-crafted album and even more since most of it was done using probably laptops and webcams with very little studio time together.
Name: "There Were Wolves"
Label: Thrill Jockey Records
Release Date: June 3, 2008 (US), April 15, 2008 (UK)
My rating: 4.0 out of 5
Ryan Ho is an occasional contributor at Musiqtone. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out this feedback form below.