By Mags Blackburn
I love when I come across an EP that really surprises me and is a treat to my musical taste buds. This I got when I listened to Wyvern Lingo’s EP ‘The Widow Knows’. Apparently I’m the last to know about this very talented trio as they have already worked with the likes of Hozier, Zaska, and Trinity Orchestra. They have garnered a fine reputation and with an average age of 22 they must have started when they were tots. Hate them!
The album, however, I love. The opening track ‘The Widow Knows’ is a showcase for the entire EP. Not only do the three members (Karen Cowley, Saoirse Duane and Caoimhe Barry) each have a verse to show off their own particular tone and skill, but the track itself encompasses all the elements the trio use throughout the EP. These elements include their numerous influences from folk, RnB, Indie and pop found on the EP. The combination of these influences means it is hard to nail down a label to put on the group but maybe that’s a good thing. Not only this, but we get a taste of the sumptuous harmonies employed by the group throughout the EP. We feel the high and taste the lows as they steer us through a range of emotions.
Nowhere is this more evident than on ‘Fairytale’, a dark tale that does not sound like it has a happy ending. “Baby where will you go?” A powerfully sang song that puts any X-Factor wannabe to shame. It is a wonderfully produced track, opening and closing with the crackling record player and as the instrumentation falls back the voices get louder clearer, their message there for the grabbing.
Wyvern Lingo showcase their RnB sensibilities on ‘Snow’. “Yes I know my love grows// like the silence of snow”. The flute is an interesting addition but like all the instrumentation on this EP it has been carefully chosen and its virtuoso line follows the girls vocals. You can imagine Dusty Springfield singing ‘Tricks’ but sprightly guitar plucking brings it up to date. “You had a bag of tricks” and so do these girls. What was a song of love lost spirals into a psychedelic experiment, one that shows the confidence of Wyvern Lingo.
‘Used’ is the first single and probably the most folk track on the EP with country tones as it tells a familiar tale of being treated badly by a lover. “I won’t be broken twice”. It’s a full minute before you realise there is no backing instrumentation as the story telling and sumptuous harmonies carry you away. The song gets its poignancy simply from the use of tone and pause and demonstrates the sense of understanding and musicianship of Wyvern Lingo.
In all ‘The Widow Knows’ is a self assured piece of artistry. The girls are so comfortable in each other’s singing style that they can pick and choose a number of musical styles winding them around each other. The EP is accomplished not only in its song writing and musicality but also in its approach, bookended by tracks that showcase the talents and cohesiveness of the group. Oh yes these are some very talented musicians and I love a group that is not afraid to challenge their listeners.