Monday, March 24, 2014

Album Review: The Year Fifteen - As A World Entire

Album Review: A
Stemming from the mind of Billy Duprey, keyboardist for The Republic of Wolves, an alternative indie band based out of Long Island, The Year Fifteen is his wonderful solo project that showcases the talents of an exceptional musician. His debut, As A World Entire, is nothing short of riveting. It's concise, the production is wonderful, and it will put you in a state of trance as each song gently passes through you, like the ebb and flow of an emotionally heavy ocean tide. There is a certain aesthetic that lingers long into the melodies like an undeniable yearning that can make the wintriest of hearts succumb to a warm Sunday in summer. This record challenges conventional pop music by serving it up with spoonfuls of raw, passionate sentiments not utilized by most underground contemporary artists.

The record begins with "Patience" a two minute heartfelt ballet that gives the listener a preview into the emotionally maturity of this album. As the slow progression of ambient piano intertwines with soft spoken guitar and painfully honest lyrics, "Patience" foreshadows the beauty that will behold the remaining tracks.

As "Objectivity" starts next, the pop foundation of the record will definitely come from behind the curtain. Just like the first drive home after a long spring semester at college, this track is lighthearted and carries the nostalgia of life as a young adult dealing with the internal struggles of growing older. As the record continues forward, hints of Straylight Run, Jets to Brazil, The Early November and Something Corporate shine through as some heavy influences. Nothing is overcomplicated or stretched too thin. There is a neat balance of alternative pop-rock found on every track. "Evening Conversations" again captures this balance surfacing the melodramatic elements of the record. The drums pace along in a soft crawl, backing bright acoustic strumming accompanied by soaring harmonies to finish everything out. It's a brilliant ballad to bridge the second half of the record.

"Out of Sync" a highlighted track, amps up the distortion in the chorus. The entire song is strung together by a simple candid riff that transitions well into the catchiness of the chorus. However, the most memorable section of the song is the bridge leading into the outro, in which members of The Republic of Wolves take turn sharing vocal guest spots.

The title track, "As A World Entire" is the definite climax of the album. Reminiscent of bands like The Gloria Record, Gates and The Dear and the Headlights, this track is very dense. The bridge of the song is where Duprey spills his heart out with no reserve. It's a genuine and authentic showcase of emotions...and Duprey did it right.

"With An English Smile" is another highlight on the record in its unusual song structure and sound. A definite sense of Angles and Airwaves can be heard throughout with a bit more of an emo tint. The drums are more active than other tracks which gives it a little more pep. There are plenty of vocal melodies to go around to spice it up, especially one that gives the track a bit of a harsher edge.

The last track, "Honesty" is a wonderful summation to the record. Again, this tune provides more feelings of nostalgia — a song to encapsulate your life, like the ending credits to a graduation or to a best friend moving away. The gang style vocals that form the outro will shake, rattle and roll your soul until the last second, only leaving you to start the album from the top.

While this may be a lofty order, I believe As A World Entire might just be album of the year. It's mature sound, smooth song structures, intimate lyrics, diversified instrumentation, and honesty makes it an essential record to any collection. At the end of the day, music that's relatable and personal will stand the test of time, no matter the genre. As A World Entire has the potential to be one of those coveted records.

The Year Fifteen on Facebook
Billy Duprey

Track List:
1. Patience
2. Objectivity
3. A Thought
4. Sweater, Half Open
5. Evening Conversations
6. Out of Sync
7. As A World Entire
8. Colours
9. It's Been So Hard
10. With An English Smile
11. Honesty

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