Our Years in the Wilderness is the new album from Bristol based band The Hi-life Companion, which is loosely based around Brothers Matt and Johnathan Troy. The band describe themselves as a music collective rather than a band, which is totally understandable when you are confronted by this album, as it’s not your averaged independent band album, it’s a piece of art.
Of course, most music is well thought out and composed with care and attention, but when listening to this album you gather there was just that extra attention to detail within every aspect of the album, making it attractive.
‘Brockweir House’ starts the whole album off, and states the albums intentions as it lets you in gently and introduces what sort of music collective they are, as they’re soft and delicate with this one, a feat that is easily warmed to. This soft energy flows into the following song ‘Meet me at the Pearl’ which is carefully tinted with a hint of storytelling.
This constant theme throughout, as the majority songs take up a peaceful role and constantly invite you to carry on listening.
‘Sabatani’ puts a halt to all of this it brings up the tempo slightly and gets you singing “Teenage love is such a tender case”, and never has a lyric run so true from and independent band. ‘I Served on Ships’ and ‘The Hole in the Fence’ reclaims the calmness which was once there, and with the introduction of space-like sounds it gives the album a different style as it shows the diversity of the band.
The band show no fear as they continuously bring in different elements with the use of the violins and trumpets, which sets their music apart from most independent bands, as it adds an air of professionalism.
The second part of the album is possibly the most favoured on the two parts you could make of it, as they express a much more wild side to the band with songs like ‘Dark Heart’ and ‘Our Years in Wilderness’. It could be argued that this side of the band is preferable as you receive more enjoyment from those songs as they’re capable of writing a catchy riff and hook-line.
‘Cast you Down’ wraps the album up, and proves to be the best on the album. Although it’s one of the more mellow songs on their, its delivered so well and is reminiscent of Morrissey’s ‘I’ll let you know’, this is touching.
The album is an elegant piece of work that has been looked and cared for every step of the way, however it lacks a certain something from time to time, but it’s nothing that really ruins the album.
Words by Alex Wise @al4563