Wayfarer, aka Nik Piscitello, seems to have a fondness for the 12/8 time signature (if the first two tracks of his new EP are anything to go by) and the whole feel brings back the American indie/rock sounds of the 90s. With Radiohead-esque heavy guitar riffs and vocals reminiscent of Counting Crows front man Adam Duritz, they really do sound like they wouldn’t be out of place on a soundtrack for Friends: this is not a slight, but just how indicative his sound is of that era.
It is the third track, ‘Oh and On’, where Wayfarer really comes into his own, with a hypnotic, brushed drum beat and simple, effective melody. The song then suddenly takes you somewhere else halfway through, with a breakdown that slowly builds up through a constant bass line as Piscitello starts pleading for something to “Get up outta my head” before his voice takes on a discordant pitch.
The Albatross We Keep comes across as being Piscitello’s way of laying to rest some of the demons about former band projects and the need to pursue it one more time, even now he is a family man; “We give up this ghost for one more ghost”. He sings with melancholy about monsters, ghosts, beasts and any other mythical creatures that he can think of, which are depicted so well in the brilliant cover art work for the record.
There are hints of Led Zeppelin at their most chilled out on the track ‘Never Be’ before the finale of the EP, which starts off as a soft acoustic number but again deviates way off-course with a rapid drum roll and wailing guitars that slowly drift in but never quite reach the intensity that the song cries out for, as Piscitello screams “Hello my broken heart, where you been?”
It is abundantly clear that the man believes in what he is singing and, if you are a fan of the more downbeat Counting Crows, or even Pearl Jam of years gone by, then you will probably like Wayfarer. But maybe that is the problem here, because for all its intent, angst and heartfelt lyrics, this EP sounds dated before it is even released. It sounds like a record that is from the 90s and would have done very well at that time. As for here and now, we will just have to wait and see.
The Albatross We Keep is available 18th February.