A debut album often feels mired in great expectation and scrutiny; usually being the first real taste for what an artist has to offer. Charlotte Day Wilson seems to slip straight through these overly critical cracks with her debut album ‘ALPHA’. Already a significantly established artist – with a catalogue of EP’s and singles dating back to 2012 – Wilson has been on the scene for a while. ‘ALPHA’ comes as a comprehensive overview of who Charlotte Day Wilson is as an artist and a producer.
The Canadian native doesn’t shy from a collaborative opportunity. BADBADNOTGOOD, Syd and Daniel Caesar all feature on the album. ‘ALPHA’ is the long-awaited extended body of work we’ve been hoping for from Charlotte Day Wilson. It doesn’t disappoint.
Wilson’s velvety viola-like vocals delicately preach her gospel. ‘ALPHA’ is hymnlike and huge with all the goodness of a neo-soul album - groovy rhythms and steady pacing. Occasionally an obscure instrument will jump in, even just appearing once, elevating each song. Elevation is definitely the world for ‘ALPHA’. Complicated vocal textures, surprise brass, innovative use of digital effects. It’s very apparent that Wilson is a producer as well as a musician.
Her collaborative relationships only add to the goodness; a real testament to her song writing capabilities. Though different in their individual styles, BADBADNOTGOOD, Syd and Daniel Caesar all work – just right. ‘ALPHA’ has a strong sonic template and is pleasant to listen to. Wilson manages to show her experimental side without overpowering the calm atmosphere.
Some particular production choices that stand out are the roomy drums on ‘Wish It Was Easy’. Undisguised and unedited. An unfiltered sound that many would avoid for fear of being too raw. Wilson has a fantastic ear for the unexpected. Similarly, the timbre of ‘Mountains’ sees Wilson’s vocal blend like a true instrument. A woman strong in her practise, with little room for improvement. 'ALPHA' is Charlotte Day Wilson in 360.
Words: Amelia Lloyd
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