A tender, emotional look on past relationships
Under the moniker Boy Scouts, multi-talented musician Taylor Vick creates a new record that is tender as much as it is raw. In laying bare many insecurities, Vick ensures a gentleness that is a necessity. While the rock scene has undeniably faced the dark, brooding instrumentals as a result of a tumultuous year, Boy Scouts has turned to a more subdued approach with Wayfinder. It is a portrait of an artist recognizing herself. In its subtleties, there are revelations.
“I Get High,” which is the opening track for Wayfinder, is a stream-of-consciousness type of work. With its verses describing both minuscule desires and magnitudes of clandestine longing, there is a certain beauty to it. Starting in a more bare-bones approach to production, it seems as if the artist has just entered a euphoric state before exploding into a heavy bassline in the chorus. While songs describing getting high certainly aren’t new, the approach to this one seems almost gentle. Its self-awareness and honesty truly make their way in carving out interest into the album itself.
Interestingly, there are elements of folk music throughout the album. “A Lot to Ask” has an untraditional song structure that makes it akin to the genre. If one enjoys the power of good songwriting, there does not seem to get better than this. The simple weight of the words, along with lethargic guitar, makes it seem as if there is too much to bear as a result of wanting to be in a relationship. It is a simple but universal experience that truly comes alive through the vocal performance. Every single note seems to pine for a love that might not be reciprocated.
Another great song from the album is “Not Today,” which vividly describes the desire to spiral in remembering a relationship that no longer exists. The crackling vocals in the production make it seem outdated and distant, something that ties in nicely with its themes. Backing vocals stick behind the verses like shaking off a bad dream. It is a beautiful portrayal of the cycles of heartbreak that neglects to fall into cliche. Instead, Boy Scouts reiterates the power of relationships and how the desire to see another never truly stops.
Instrumentally, “Big Fan” is a highlight. The repetitive piano underlies the acoustic guitar, complementing the vocals perfectly. Like much of the album, it feels as warm as a hug. It is an emotional piece of music with its nostalgic lyrics reiterating the power of recognizing growth. Its music is reminiscent of the pop-rock of the early 2000s. In a way, the familiarity of the instrumentals truly allows the framework of the album to operate itself. With lyrics stating the power of memory, the instrumentals draw us back to earlier eras of music.
“Didn’t I” has an introduction that seems a bit country. However, it works perfectly with its more cinematic production. To draw attention to the revelations of growing from these experiences, the production is much grander than the first songs of the album. With strings and piano, there is an orchestra to accompany the desire of still wanting to be with a person. After all of the years, it seems that there needs to be closure. This concept truly seems organic and flows nicely with the rest of the ideas of the album.
The closing song, “Model Homes,” acts as a perfect closing to the ideas present in the album. The composition of the track makes it seem much more focused than the rest of the songs. It follows a traditional song structure, which sort of reflects the composed nature of finding peace with oneself. While it’s not a high-concept album, Wayfinder works extremely well in showing just how powerful laying one’s emotions to paper is. It is evident that the album has so much thoughtfulness to it, making it one of the more underlooked gems of this year.