Album Review: Sweet Wednesday
Album Title: Escaping from the Pale Moonlight
If Natalie Merchant and Neil Young were to form a band, the result wouldn’t be distant from Sweet Wednesday’s harmonious mélange of folk, country, and roots rock. Name-dropping such iconic figures may seem like hyperbole in describing a fairly young and rather unknown duo from the Boston music scene; however, Sweet Wednesday’s emotionally stirring and poetic narratives on Escaping from the Pale Moonlight lend credibility to such a startling comparison.
Comprised of singer/songwriters Lisa Housman and Dave Falk, both of whom also play guitar, Sweet Wednesday approach their lyrics with a literary perspective that is often lost in the stream-of-consciousness trends damaging the indie flock. Actually, Sweet Wednesday are indie in status only; their tunes are closer in style and spirit to early ’70s singer/songwriter balladry and country rock than anything charting on college radio at the moment. On the opening cut, “Days Grow Long,” Housman truly recalls Merchant in her 10,000 Maniacs prime; however, Housman’s voice is more deep and husky, and it absolutely soars during the chorus. Furthermore, Merchant’s words were never as quirky as this as Housman seems to be singing about vampires – or perhaps werewolves – in love (“When the moon is full and takes an orange glow/That’s where our souls ignite”).
Housman and Falk display an irresistible chemistry; their voices blend together effortlessly, especially on “Southern Drawl” and “Open Up the Blind,” wherein the two glide breezily over a locomotive beat. Alone they deliver knockouts, too. “I Still Love You” finds Falk at his most fragile and tender; the track’s intimate acoustic arrangement unveils the wounded longing in his voice.