Indie folk band The Wild Reeds are chiefly a three-piece of Kinsey Lee, Mackenzie Howe and Sharon Silva. I’ve looked online for any info on the drummer and bassist who appear on their second album, “The World We Built,” and who are also on tour with the band, but there’s scant mention of them anywhere. In any case the two of them are as solid a rhythm section as you could ask for, backing up the trio that seem as telepathically vocally linked as the Grateful Dead circa “American Beauty.”
The Wild Reeds know how to write songs, that’s for sure. Their melody lines and chord changes are highly pleasing and catchy, bordering on the kind of pop you might hear from 90s indie bands, while investing the music with a heavy strain of emotional pining and poignancy. The combination calls to mind those stalwarts from the indie era like Buffalo Tom, and more modern inheritors, the sadly defunct Boston band Mean Creek.
Seeing them live is quite the experience, as their intensity of feeling literally swells the room, and they begin to grow and expand as the set winds up to its climax. You can hear some of their massive energy and outpouring captured in, say, the latter stages of “Everything Looks Better (In Hindsight),” or when the vocals jump up an octave at the end of “Capable.” That’s not to say they aren’t able to strip it back – take the bridge around 2’20” in “Capable” when the drums peels back and the guitar gently supports the vulnerable lyric: “and my anger surrounds me like a coat when I shiver / I let it surround me with these thoughts often so bitter.”
I checked out The Wild Reeds at Rough Trade recently based on being massively impressed with a track I heard online, and they frankly blew the entire audience away with their directly emotional songs and impressively drilled set-list. I’m looking forward to working back to their debut album from 2014 to see how that is, and looking forward to see what they do next.