Album Review: Cemeteries – The Wilderness

“The sombre tone of the album overshadows the immense potential of this young artist…”

Cemeteries  |  The Wilderness

Every so often, an artist manages to create a truly unique sound, something that simply hasn’t been heard before.  With debut album The Wilderness, Cemeteries (New York native Kyle J. Reigle) has developed such a sound, best described as Beach Boys meets Real Estate.  Unfortunately, while unique and interesting for a little while, the album quickly grows stale and tedious.

The record certainly starts off with some potential though.  ‘The Wilderness’ creates a lofty standard that much of the rest of the album sadly fails to live up to. One of the more upbeat tracks of the album, the combination of acoustic guitar and uptempo drums in the background give the sense that this is an album that is going somewhere.  Bright and original in tone, it’s only the slowdown at the tail end of the song that is an omen of what’s to come.

And what’s to come is not necessarily good.  Follow-up ‘What Did You See’ goes nowhere.  All the sense of urgency is gone faster than the speed of light.  It’s like having the beauty of a scenic canoe trip replaced by a float down a mundane lazy river.  Unfortunately, this continues further down the record, with the uninspired ‘Summer Smoke’.  Without a ready source of some sort of caffeine, the listener is almost assured to fall asleep listening to this boring tune, which doesn’t alter its tone or add any sort of enthusiasm in any way.  This same general overcast feel continues for much of the rest of the album, and it’s not until the very end of the album that there are enough hooks to draw the listener out of this funk.

Despite these flaws, the album almost manages to right itself with the final few tracks.  ‘Leland’ manages to change things up a bit with a bass line that actually manages to inject some life into the record.  Even more encouraging, album closer ‘A Real Gust of Wind’ is actually a terrific song, it merely has the misfortune of existing so deep into the record that many listeners will give up before they hear it!  For those dedicated enough to reach it (or those willing to skip right to it…) they will be rewarded with a dreamy, airy sound imbued with just enough bright points that break out of the otherwise gloomy demeanor, like a ray of sunshine through the clouds.

The overall sombre tone of the album overshadows the immense potential of this young artist.  If he is able to replicate his success in providing both hope and despair, darkness and light as he does in ‘A Real Gust of Wind’ or ‘The Wilderness’, one can certainly see Cemeteries growing in popularity.  However, until that day, the gloominess of his music will prevent this unique sound from appealing to a wider audience.