Born in Blackpool and now based in Cambridge, Wilde has a voice and phrasing at times reminiscent of the softer side of Paul Simon, a comparison underpinned by his nimble acoustic guitar playing and the tumbling nature of his melodies. Indeed, listening to "Ideas Up My Sleeve" and "Windy Head" on this, his third album, it's hard not to think of "Gracelands".
Released on Polly Paulusma's label, despite the urban cover image, it's a summery affair, conjuring thoughts of open fields, clear skies and the occasional warm shower, suggesting perhaps a feeling of homesickeness given it was written, recorded and self-produced while living in Russia, the contributions of the other musicians (Simon Halsey on double bass and violinist Richard Curran among them) sent via email, yet still sounding decidedly organic.
There's a definite reflectiveness to the lyrics, particularly so on the simple fingerpicked "Something You've Got" ("I still hear my mother's voice call my brother's name and mine from the park across the road where we spent most of our time"), song about growing up written for his young niece, and the lovely, piano and strings arranged "Hammersmith Palais", a song about how his late grandmother and grandfather met at a demob dance.
Embracing the waltzing devotion of "Follow You", the bittersweet conflicting emotions of "Let Him Go" ("I've always loved you, and love you still, but you're holding me thinking of somebody else") to the banjo backed Slim Chance feel of "Letter From Phoenicia", there's not a weak track here, but I'm especially taken with "The List", a tumbling waltzer about both people in a relationship making changes to keep it alive that puts me in mind of the best of Reg Meuross. Far more than just another brick in the folk wall, this sounds like the foundation stone upon which a long and estimable career is built.
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