Timidly Angry and Morose
Somewhere between Imagine Dragons and Maroon 5 lies The Republic of Wolves. Hailing from Long Island, New York, the band consists of indie rockers Mason Maggio, Christian Van Deurs (both of folk rock group Tigers on Trains), Billy Duprey, Gregg Andrew Dellarocca and Chris Wall. The Republic of Wolves hit the scene in 2009 with the EP His Old Branches, which won over some critics. In 2010 they released their first full-length studio album, Varuna. Although they have released plenty of EPs and compilations, No Matter How Narrow is their second full-length release of fresh material.
Unlike a lot of pop bands out there to date, these guys have been able to produce a blend of strong and airy, dark and light electronic and acoustic elements, a concoction that is often used but rarely mastered. Their tech skills in music composition are off the charts compared to most performers today. Surpassing the “radio worthy” buzzword of commercial music (present and old industry standards alike), these guys have found a way to be “playlist” worthy. It is a beautifully confusing process, listening to these guys. With 11 songs and a bonus of three vinyl-only downloadable tracks, each song on No Matter How Narrow is as similar to the last as it is unique itself.
With great imagery that tops the melodic and devout harmony of the eclectic instrumentals, the album is an in-depth look at the array of levels in which the human sprit sulks. “Frozen Feet” is a reminiscent opener, harkening to ’80s folk-rock beats. “Stray(S)” has a feeling of “It’s so sad it’s not my fault ,” while “Spare Key” is a “good riddance” kind of song. “Greenville, MO” could be The Sad Song of the album. “Pioneers” and “Keep Clean ” both have something hopeful and open in their composition, while “Arithmetic On The Frontier ” sounds like a distant secret. Needless to say, there is plenty of variety here.
On a counter measure, “Turning Lane ” has such an upbeat sound that the sarcasm in its delivery is only intensified by the follower, “Vinedresser .” Ever wonder what it’s like to live in a video while playing the banjo in an incredibly artistic music video? “Vinedresser” makes you feel like that. Ender “Through Empty Vessels” sums up the album; it is an emotional roller coaster of lows and lower still with an occasional “Oh, it’s going to be okay,” then a quick plummet to the void of that feeling, “No… it all still kinda sucks.”
Jokes aside, being indie means being unique and not manufactured. A fan of this type of music or not, the orchestration alone on No Matter How Narrow is the highest quality we’ve heard in a long time. Production value and musicianship are dead on, which is why this album is High Fidelity. This could be one of the best indie produced records all year.