Release Date: October 15, 2015 (Bandcamp)
Best Songs: “Foghorns”, “Fire”, “Up Against the Wall”
buzz Factor: 5/10
Verdict: While at times predictable and lacking energy, Waterfowl is nonetheless a solid debut.
If you like your folk music topped with rock n’ roll and served with a side of the blues, then you may want to try taking a bite into Waterfowl’s latest release.
The folk rock band released their debut, self-titled album on October 15, 2015. This release further marks their visibility in the local scene and presents Waterfowl as yet another addition to the rapidly growing repertoire of folk rock bands in Champaign-Urbana.
The debut is an adequate first album for the group. Waterfowl blends styles of country, rock, folk and blues into their ten-song album which gives an ode to the many genres that are imperative to America’s musical history.
If you’re into soft, steady jamming, then this album may be for you. There are moments on this record that where the vocals cease and the group breaks away into a concentrated jam, such as the explosive guitar solo on the song “Foghorns.”
The song “Fire” stands out compared to the rest, which incorporates tasteful slide guitar licks. Solos appear to be the shining element of the album, with stylishly executed leads that carry precision and can sustain themselves well enough without going too far out of line from the rhythm section. However, the guitar tones lack character. More overdrive could really strengthen the solos and give the songs an extra kick.
Lyrical themes on the record are fairly predictable. Waterfowl balance the heavy subjects of heartbreak, hopelessness and the trials of traveling, nothing really out of the ordinary for what you would expect from a folk or alt-country group.
There are times when the vocals could aim to have a bit more purpose behind them. There’s an air of desperation in the voices on this album, which is fitting for the type of music Waterfowl is dishing out. There were strong vocal moments in songs like “Moline” and “Fire” that would carry over well throughout the rest of the songs. The parts of the album that went over best were on songs like these that exhibited genuine conviction in both the music and lyrics.
Waterfowl has laid out some decent groundwork for a first release, but they have plenty of potential to create some really moving moments in their music.