Wavorly - Conquering the Fear of Flight
Record Label: Flicker Records
Release Date: June 12, 2007
I’ve come to believe the holiday season is not only a reason to fill one’s heart with good cheer and goodwill towards men, but also a reason to find oneself in a state of laziness, lying on the couch next to a rousing fire with his or her retinas glued to the television watching re-runs of The King of Queens. Despite my pre-holiday goals to read a few books and review a couple albums, I find myself barren of everything scholarly during this period of the holidays. In spite of this spirit of laziness which has unassumingly pervaded my holiday season, I’ve managed to find the gall to sit down to review the newest release from one of Flicker Record’s hottest bands—Wavorly. Wavorly’s debut record, entitled Conquering the Fear of Flight, is not a groundbreaking record in the least, but instead is a record characterized by the band’s search for identity in a smothered scene of sound-alikes. I almost always find it amusing to look over my notes after reviewing an album; it’s much like watching a student falling asleep during his 8 a.m. organic chemistry class. Slowly my notes transition from highly detailed assessments to short, vague statements that are rarely informative enough to even think about using in my review. Unfortunately, Conquering the Fear of Flight is a record that epitomizes this habit.
“Introducing,” may be the most misleading opening track I’ve ever heard. Its cascading, luxurious string arrangements lull the listener into a peaceful state of torpor before rattling his or her ears with the potent guitar lick of the following track, “Madmen.” Despite being a song that rouses the senses with its ability to “bring the rock,” it lacks anything that separates it from the rest of the genre. Characterized by the heavy-leaning guitar licks and powerful drums, “Endless Day” and “Tale of a Dragon’s Heart” follow along the same lines of unoriginality.
Nevertheless, Wavorly do not pride themselves in just writing straight forward rock songs—they also seem to enjoy writing ballads, and their record is full of them. From the slow, lulling “A Summer’s Song” to the semi-orchestral “How Have We Come This Far?” Wavorly find themselves half-way between the over produced, sappy pop rock spilling over the airwaves and the majestic sensibility of Coldplay. Disappointingly, Wavorly fall more toward the former.
Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with a good ballad. However, it seems that Wavorly have worn out their brand of formulaic ballad writing, chiefly with their overuse of strings which play a strong role in almost half of the songs. Many tracks even seem to reach denouement with the same maudlin and gimmicky string exit (“Time I Understood,” “Praise and Adore.”) Even so, it would be unfair to say that Wavorly’s lush ballads aren’t pleasing to the ears (“Sleeper”). But at the same time, Wavorly’s sound lacks cohesiveness and vision, two mandatory elements to success in the music business.
What the listener is left with while listening to Conquering the Fear of Flight is an apparent mix of several different styles of music. However, it seems that in all departments Wavorly fall a little short from where they need to be. The rock songs rock hard but not quite hard enough and the ballads are pleasant, but lean a little too far into the realm of sentimentality. Aside from the hooky “Part One” and the verse-oriented “Sleeper,” Conquering the Fear of Flight offers little to the listener who is looking for a fresh, purposeful approach to songwriting.