For Fans Of
When first listening to new music, one thing that immediately catches my ear is an artist’s ability to build ambience and atmosphere within their art. It’s never not a mind-blowing experience to close your eyes and let the imagery of the music pull you to some other imaginary place, fully consuming your mind. This is precisely the effect that Trade Wind execute on ‘Certain Freedoms‘.
Their second record is a cacophony of reverb soaked guitars, subtle arpeggios, shimmering leads, catchy and looped drum patterns, and ethereal vocal melodies that sweep you off your feet. Trade Wind might still be considered a “supergroup” to some, a side-project to various members of Stick To Your Guns and Stray From The Path, among others, but there’s so much skill and merit at play. They’re their own band; evolving beyond their heavier, previously established Deftones and Thrice influences. As they all understand the best ways to create real mood with their music, and ‘Certain Freedoms‘ is but another near-perfect addition to an equally near-flawless discography; following on from 2014’s solid ‘Suffer Just To Believe‘ EP and 2016’s majestic ‘You Make Everything Disappear‘ LP.
The immediate standout on ‘Certain Freedoms‘ is the astonishing guitar work from Stray From The Path guitarist, Tom Williams. When comparing his tone and playing on ‘Certain Freedoms‘ to the bouncy, whammy out-put of his main band, it’s incredible to see how diverse Williams’ abilities are. However, as good as Stray may be, I find his melancholic, dynamic and ambient-leaning style here in Trade Wind to be his strongest. He does such a stellar job at building these songs up to a resonating dream-state throughout; his chords and layers driving their way into your mind with ease. Tom utilises a flurry of different effects on this record too, like the oddly perfect pitch shifting in ‘Beige‘ or the de-tuned leads in ‘Moonshot‘. Every song carries a different mood, yet the album’s overall tone is maintained with his guitar playing.
Another major standout for ‘Certain Freedoms‘ is Stick To Your Guns vocalist, Jesse Barnett. Jesse has always had a delicate, soothing singing voice, aside from that raging scream which he uses in STYG. However, on no album has his voice stood out like it does on ‘Certain Freedoms‘. What makes Jesse so great is that he switches from moments of melancholia and subtly, like the choruses in “How’s Your Head?”, over to these anthemic yells, as per the hook in ‘No King But Me‘. Jesse shines brightly on ‘Certain Freedoms‘, and his presence never goes unnoticed. His lyrical writing talent is also impressive, perfectly communicating the right” tone for each and every song. The best example of this is the spacey ‘Moonshot‘, made up of revealing lines like: “shoot me straight to the moon, where I belong; far from you.” To say that this is mature record, lyrically speaking, would be an understatement. The 90s-style acoustic bop of ‘Flower Machine‘ also delivers open-heart lines, such as “please don’t make me guess the things that you’re thinking. Do you need me?” There’s so much regret, forgiveness, honesty and yearning to the words behind ‘Certain Freedoms‘, and that’s one of its biggest strengths.
Other than detailed lyricism and lush soundscapes, ‘Certain Freedoms‘ has plenty of wonderful musical moments and key songs that stick out. ‘Close Encounters (Of The 3rd Floor)‘ glitters as one of the best tracks, with a layered, slow build until one of the most beautiful and powerful outros on the entire LP hits with real force. It’s somewhat reminiscent of ‘Radio Songs, AKA one of the best tracks from their 2016 debut LP. And that’s not a bad thing!
Arguably the best section of ‘Certain Freedoms‘ is the awesome three-track run of ‘Moonshot‘, ‘How’s Your Head?‘ and ‘Cut‘: easily the album’s top-tier trio. They’re back-to-back on the track-listing, all serving as stunning highlights on what is already a mesmerising listen. Heck, ‘Moonshot‘ might be my own personal favourite, for me serving as the ideal version of what a great modern indie-rock song should sound and feel like.
‘Certain Freedoms’ is indie and alternative rock at its absolute best in 2019; a brilliant example of what happens when a group of extremely talented musicians all come together with a singular vision. ‘Certain Freedoms’ is cavernous, light and airy, yet it also feels dense, powerfully up-rooting, and emotionally driving. The sparse tones and drifting moods formed from minimal but amazing instrumentation are all exquisite, as is Jesse Barnett’s exceptional vocal delivery and commendable, forthcoming lyrics. Trade Wind are all clearly talented individuals, just trying to write the very best music that they can, and that goal is achieved with this new record’s incredibly stacked track-list. ‘Moonshot’ and ‘Close Encounters (Of The 3rd Floor)’ will be etched into the brains of Trade Wind fans forever, and you could just get completely lost within the beauty of cuts like ‘I Can’t Believe That You’re Gone’ and ‘Nashinga’. ‘Certain Freedoms’ is many things: it’s sometimes happy, it’s deftly sad, it’s often quite emotional, but it is also hopeful too. It’s also another excellent addition to the ever-growing discography of Trade Wind.
No King But Me
Close Encounters (Of The 3rd Floor)
I Can’t Believe You’re Gone
How’s Your Head?
‘Certain Freedoms’ is out now.