Little Wings is the alias of Kyle Field and he’s accumulated a large discography by now. Explains is the latest addition to that vast collection. Here we have a collection of folk tunes which gingle along gently with Field’s deadpan voice drawing you further into the song and the lyrics. It’s a warm cup of tea on a rainy Sunday, just how good folk music should be.
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Kyle Field has been releasing records both sad and ramshackle for many a moon, and on ‘Explains’ he sounds totally at ease with his process: this record of folk ballads relaxes even as it broods, inflecting the minor key like it’s a familiar friend stopping by for a visit, invoking ballads like they’re exhibitions. It’s a wonderfully and curiously arranged record, so I’m hardly surprised that Woodist -- the K Records of understated Americana -- have picked it up.
Field’s voice is at the crux of ‘Explains’, juxtaposing with the subtle arrangements of piano, brushed percussion and opaque strums. Field recalls both the vocal style and delivery of Jeffrey Lewis, albeit for quieter and more charming music -- he happily lets his voice flood the bars of his songs, modestly but nasally humming his lyrics in a way that makes the listener strain. On “Hill Hidden Nog”, he intones his lyrics breathlessly over a steady, sultry rhythm, as if hyperventilating within a still life painting. “Old Apocalypse Style” offers a similar sense of separation between Field and his twanging, sighing backdrop; his words recall Bill Callahan in that when you hear them, it feels like they belong to the parallel version of this world.
There’s some archetypical alt-country doing the rounds on this record, which is very good news for your future Sunday mornings; the slight electric guitar that slides through “A Blade of Grass” is both sad and satisfying in that strange way, and I’m ever thankful that the twang begins to sift through like heavy fog on vignette “The Sky”, sticking around among “Around This World” and on through the record’s resolution, tying the record together with a knot. Cool horse, too.
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