Little Wings makes sparse folk music. The kind of music you would hear at a country fair or coming from an old photograph at a flea market. Whimsical and histrionic while still being sincere. The latest offering from Little Wings differs slightly from past releases. The K Records website describes Grow as “meant by creator/founder Kyle Field as a candy bar-sized bite chunk of musical wisperia, a taste of Little Wings between meals, the scent of trouble on a misty day, the foghorn blowing through the night.” The description of the album is muddled with poetic imagery, in reality Grow is a recording session that feels like Kyle spent one day improvising with a boom box to record his follies. Sincerity is lost in what feels like an attempt by Kyle to make some easy cash off his adoring fans.
The first half of the album is a slow-motion folk trance; ultra low volume sparse guitar with distracted, wistful and strained vocals from Kyle. The album begins to turn around with the more put together “New Topanga”. Once you get through the minute of near inaudible vocal melodies the song introduces melodica to the quiet fuzz guitar of the Grow formula. The songs progressively get better and more bearable to listen to. The thick nirvanic fog of “Yes You Do” will leave you questioning why Kyle didn’t spend more time on all of his songs. “Wizard’s Roost” is the most instrumented and most realized of Grow and probably most enjoyable.
The album takes a U-turn with the last two tracks, “Be Gulls” and “Bag’s Ride”. “Be Gulls” is some sort of faux documentary set over a jam session while “Bag’s Ride” is the most upbeat of the album and most potential for being the most interesting, but with both songs it is painfully obvious that they were improvised.
I really enjoy and respect Little Wings and I feel a bit jilted by Kyle’s effort with Grow. The thoughtfulness and honesty of his other releases are not felt in this album at all. The whole thirty three minutes feels like some sort of inside joke that has Kyle laughing all the way to the bank.
Release date: March 1, 2005
Rating: 4.0 / 10
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