Sprinkling bits of Arcade Fire, the Shins, Vampire Weekend, Fleet Foxes, and the Family Crest into their gorgeously rustic formula, Washington D.C. indie folk band Wylder set a high standard with their debut LP, 2016’s Rain and Laura. Specifically, its synthesis of bright harmonies, reflective lyrics, and lusciously accessible yet multilayered instrumentation made it a treasured entry in the genre. With their latest video, “Ghosts” (from their upcoming album, Golden Age Thinking), the quartet—founder Will McCarry (guitar/vocals), Mike Pingley (drums), Lonnie Southall (guitar/mandolin), and Jackson Wright (bass, backing vocals)— keep that pleasantly pastoral spark intact.
McCarry explains that he always knew the track would be “an integral part” of the record. He adds: “I continued tweaking the lyrics and the arrangement right up to point where we entered the studio. I wrote the song with my childhood home in mind, which also served as inspiration for the music video. It was a ramshackle farmhouse, which had at some point been dragged down off the Appalachian mountains on the back of a tractor. Many people called the farmhouse home over the years, including two illiterate drunks who eventually shot each other over a game of cards in my parent’s future bedroom. Decades later, after we moved in, my dad modernized the home. But, its long history never escaped us, and it remained, for me and my sister, a place where ghosts would routinely meet.”
Fortunately, the piece is ripe with the personal and emotional touches you’d expect from such inspiration. At first, a simple beat guides interlocking electric and acoustic guitar arpeggios; once more dimensions are added—such as piano chords, angelic chants, and a gruffer guitar line—McCarry has a sublimely melancholic and mesmerizing foundation on which to rest his crisp everyman longing. Occasionally, strings add more classy pathos, and in general, the arrangement ebbs and flows between sparse heartache and triumphant catharsis masterfully. Correspondingly, director Samuel Rodgers’ shots of McCarry walking around a cabin and its surrounding woods during the day (as well as its nighttime celebration around a campfire) are simpler yet still quite suitable and breathtaking from a cinematography and thematic standpoint.
Check out the video for “Ghost” and be sure to hear Golden Age Thinking in full when it releases on 12 July. You can also catch Wylder on their North American tour this June, as well as stream or download the “Ghosts” single here.