Published Jul 24, 2015Over the years, Windsor, Ontario has produced a line of great grass roots bands, artists who eagerly grasp beyond their local borders to embrace the entirety of their country. Cries of the Wild is Middle Sister's attempt to express their idea of "Canadiana."
The album's title evokes the legendary Canadian landscape depicted in novels like Two Against the North and No Great Mischief, and Middle Sister's desire to go epic or go home is noted in their choir-like harmonies and grand Celtic bravado. The album's opener features Simon and Garfunkel-esque whispery vocal layers, Nate Gelinas' tribal beat inspiring a bonfire mood while the rest of the instrumentation closes in like howling wolves. Stu Kennedy's violin mews along to a tender and beautiful melody during the LP's title track, which is once again reinforced by a chorus of vocals. "Rosasharn" and "Finer Things" balance out Middle Sister's penchant for the grandiose with a pop sensibility that proves primary songwriter Colin Wysman can do without dense orchestration.
Wysman's rare shakiness — on "Tongue of Silver," particularly — aside, Cries of the Wild is an impressive display of harmonic prowess that elevates the narrative-based, satisfyingly structured songs here. Cries of the Wild is a good start to Middle Sister's venture into the unknown of their career; here's hoping there's lots of journey left. (Famous Last Records)