There is a commonplace fallacy that all acoustic albums are somehow ‘raw’ and ‘exposed’, when in fact the post-production often leaves the music overcooked. In Wrecked Vessels, we have an EP that can actually champion the terms, even if this is both a blessing and a curse.
Through strained larynx and battered string, Sydes’ woes come to the fore. If life is tearing him a new one, Sydes just about holds it together long enough to lay down four tracks. Four fractured, wounded tracks, culminating in the cathartic “The Jealous South”. It’s just what the doctor ordered…
The strength of Sydes’ voice is particularly striking. It’s actually part of the reason I don’t like the EP more – it’s as if the songs aren’t finished yet. Beneath the powerful vocals and guitar, it feels like there’s a void where a band should be. The songs are good, and the performances slick, but Wrecked Vessels feel like it was written for a full band, and only delivered by one. It offers plenty, but it feels like there could still be more for us to discover. Perhaps this will come with time.
It’s a minor quibble, admittedly. I credit B-Sydes for taking on such a task. Trying to create ‘big’ acoustic tracks can be a bugger, and he’s come pretty close. His tone is his own, executed and captured efficiently. All that B-Sydes needs now is time. Time to control the beast he’s unleashed. Time to unify his songs, so there aren’t any voids to be perceived. As soon as he’s done that, he’ll turn even more heads than he does already.
Wrecked Vessels is raw. It’s exposed, and it’s ambitious. That makes for a good EP in my mind.