A cathartic shout across the prairie sky, Edmonton outfit Wares' self-titled debut pairs guitar-led gusto with deeper sentiments worth lingering over.
Songwriter Cassia Hardy's six-string riffs never falter, whether rippling with punk vibrancy on "What You Want" or strumming through the acoustic "Out All Night." That Hardy's incorporated a dynamic band into her sometimes-solo project — bassist Dean Kheroufi and drummer Connor Ellinger on the record — allows for musical moments both subtle and massive, and occasionally both within the same song: "City Kids" builds from whistles and strums to a triumphant electric release, while "Mission Hill" showcases deft use of quiet-loud dynamics throughout.
As its nine songs go on, a quieter potency begins to emerge beneath the riffing on Wares. "Dirt," for example, draws synth, reverb and a sax line together into a quiet sing-along: "My friends have all split / there's blood in my spit / I can't seem to get myself / Out of the mess that I'm in." Lyrically, the album seems to come up against expectations and disappointments: with other people, personal situations and oneself. But even its darkest thoughts are offered up as a release, as closer "Die Here" makes a shout-along refrain out of "it's a nice place / but I don't wanna die here."
Wares is a slow burn of an album, but one that continues to reveal itself long after the first few plays. (Double Lunch Records)