Sometimes your favorite bands break up too early. And sometimes the members of those bands go on to other projects, other bands and make other albums. And you're likely disappointed. Then there's Andrew Carroll, whose delectably poppy indie-rock band, You Me & Iowa, parted ways two years ago, despite a pair of solid, sonically advanced LPs, leaving him out on his own for the first time in six years.
Within a matter of months, Carroll had written songs for a new collective, The Lonely Wild, bringing along YMI's Ryan Ross, but holding over little else from his former band, other than his smartly emotive songwriting style. With The Lonely Wild's debut EP, Dead End, Carroll and company create dusty, Western-inspired tracks like "Right Side of the Road," a cut that at first seems plucked from the opening credits of a Clint Eastwood film (no surprise that the band cites Italian composer Ennio Morricone as an influence), but then weaves a collection of influences into an Americana rock tapestry. Carroll's vocals blend nicely with those of keyboardist Jennifer Talesfore, especially on the soaring but succinct "Out of My Mind," and on the record's epic title track. While the band clearly has some musical chops, the songs on Dead End aren't overly onerous, but rather easily digestible, even when the quintet is blending diverse styles that bring to mind everything from surf guitar to The Decemberists (who also took a similar Americana route on their latest record).
Dead End is an adventurous debut, to be sure, especially for a band with built-in followers, but The Lonely Wild have pulled it off... and done so beautifully.