The Year Fifteen - As a World Entire
Release Date: March 23, 2014
Record Label: Unsigned
Last year, the Republic of Wolves put out a record called No Matter How Narrow, a bright indie rock gem that, for the most part, went generally unnoticed. Now their keyboardist Bill Duprey is back with the perfect follow up: As a World Entire. His debut solo release is forty-five minutes of lush, great-for-springtime rock.
I know what they say about judging books by covers, but everything you need to know about As a World Entire is right there on the front. It’s a boy riding a bicycle, a bare tree and a few white houses behind him. This picture could be anywhere in the world. It encapsulates everything nice about this time of year, and gives a hint about the music within.
Upon pressing play, the first thing to note is how similar Duprey sounds to The Republic of Wolves’ Mason Maggio – they both have the same smooth, breathy quality to their voices, but Duprey’s is a bit higher. But digging into his voice means digging into his lyrics. The Republic of Wolves have always been lauded for their lyrics, and Duprey’s no exception. On “Objectivity,” he implores the listener to “break away from the concept/that you’re just an object,” before turning around and deciding that “you were a thought that I had/nothing more and nothing less” on the next song. He often manages to sound frustrated without necessary sounding childish, executed best at the end of closer “Honesty”: ”And if I had the answers/you can fucking bet that I would keep them to myself.”
The next thing to notice is how varied the album is. Don’t be fooled by the atmospheric opener “Patience,” next track “Objectivity” is a more upbeat venture and a bit more representative of the general sound of the album. It’s hard to say “Objectivity” really is the best taste of the album, though, given that the Straylight Run tribute “A Thought” comes after. Hints of The Gloria Record styled emo pop up subtly in “Evening Conversations,” while the one-two punch of “It’s Been So Hard” and “With an English Smile” is a wonderful slice of indie pop that could even perhaps fare well on alternative radio. “Out of Sync” sounds like a cut from Narrow, particularly in that every member of The Republic of Wolves is given a vocal feature in the track’s handclap laden bridge, making an already good song into a clear highlight.
On that song,Duprey informs listeners that “sometimes I think I’m too good for this/but half the time I think I’m full of shit.” If Bill Duprey feels The Year Fifteen is too good to be relegated to a only side project, it’s because he’s right. If the Republic of Wolves decide to quit, at least Bill Duprey’s got a fallback.