[Album Review] West My Friend- Quiet Hum
Reader Rating: (6 Votes)


Release Date: May 27th, 2016
Label: Grammar Fight Records

West My Friend is something of an experiment, if you will. Take four classically-trained musicians and let them loose in the format of popular indie-folk. Success! Enid Oliver, Alex Rempel, Jeff Poynter and Nick Mintenko put their unique stamp on what can otherwise be a tired genre. Their songs sparkle with intricate harmonies, clever arrangements (which does not always mean complicated) and the odd unusual choice of instrumentation.

With ‘Quiet Hum’ WMF do not branch out or take too many chances, opting instead to solidify their well-honed sound. As usual, Oliver’s voice is a clear as a mountain stream as it easily tumbles up and down the scales. On tunes like “Polish & Keep” she does what the band is best known for, i.e. infusing the folk ballad with both well-schooled discipline and beautiful baroque pop vocals. She does, however, mix things up a little with a slight foray into blues (“All Day Long”) and Joni Mitchell pop jazz (“Go Straightaway”).

Alex Rempel takes full advantage of the few turns he has on lead vocals and adds at least one album highlight. “How Could I Not Sing” is an infectious folker, arranged almost like a campfire round. Once this thing gets in your head you’ll be singing it for days.

Although Mintenko adds a touch of class with his upright bass (as if WMF needed any more class) the band’s true unsung hero is Poynter, whose accordion is arguably the most dominant instrumental element. He displays a sensitivity to the unique nature of each song, adding a breezy Parisian touch where appropriate or a more sombre bluegrass tone, all depending on what the lyrics and the mood call for.

Fans of the band will welcome ‘Quiet Hum’ as a solid follow up to the excellent ‘When The Ink Dries’. For the uninitiated this will serves as good an introduction as any to the artsy but fun world of West My Friend.