Wild Years
Where’d You Go

2.5 out of 5

Where’d You Go is a new three-song EP of folk ballads by Wild Years, a talented group of Ann Arbor musicians. On the first track, “Fantasies,” frontman Alex Itkin sings about the desire to fall in love and the sorrow brought about by being alone. The song starts simply enough with gentle guitar picking and an understated drum beat perfect for foot-tapping. About halfway through, Itkin sheds the skin of the solitary man and morphs into a small choir thanks to multi-tracking. The addition of banjo, mandolin and violin propels “Fantasies” into its gripping chorus. It’s a peaceful explosion capable of raising goose bumps and demanding repeat listens.

The next track, “I’m Not Coming Out,” is a slight disappointment after the pleasant contagiousness of “Fantasies.” Itkin’s voice is a little too echoey, overpowering the instruments. Reverb effect works well in the chorus, but during the verses it makes Itkin seem like he’s bored — his voice doesn’t change in pitch and there’s no emotion to carry the lyrics. It’s not terrible, but it relies on overproduction as a crutch to make up for the lack of variation.

“Untitled (Band-aid)” follows, bringing the EP to an unimpressive end. The song begins with a tame “1, 2, 3, 4” and dissonant violin, giving it a haunted old country feel. The guitar plays softly as Itkin begins to sing. The lyrics are dull and cliche, staggering along with lines like, “Snowballs melting in this hot summer weather.” Itkin sounds bored again, and it quickly gets repetitive.

Where’d You Go is a good effort, but the last two songs have a sense of indifference that puts a damper on the whole affair. Fortunately, “Fantasies” makes the EP worth a listen with its sticky, head-nodding goodness.

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