Albums of 2008: Day 14 – Nethers – What The Wind Will Never Tell

This album was spinning continuously in my car stereo while driving around Prince Edward Island in Canada this summer. The band recorded it, their second full-length, with producer/musician Thom Monahan, who’s worked with the likes of J Mascis, the Silver Jews (The Natural Bridge), Devendra Banhart, Lilys and Pernice Brothers, but that doesn’t seem to have given the disc much of a push this year, as it got a nice mention from NPR but not much coverage anywhere else. It also probably didn’t help that the band didn’t seem to hit the road much this year.

Regardless, What The Wind Will Tell is an excellent collection of minimal, weightless, psychedelic-leaning folk songs. The album moves away from the slightly heavier jams of their debut, In Fields We Will Lie, to instead focus on sparse acoustic lines and Nikki West’s effortless vocal melodies. Even when noisier feedback does make it in the mix, it’s in a subdued and restrained way that doesn’t drown out or distract.

“3 Hearts” and “Green Jamboree” are the straight up catchiest songs, but other tunes like “Tied to the End of a String” and “The Night, The Fire” go one step further, offering up eerie atmospheres and off-center melodies that are just as enticing. Muffled and minimal drums give most songs a heartbeat-like rhythm rather than a rock ‘n’ roll cadence.

What The Wind Will Tell is delicate, and maybe that’s why it hasn’t found more interest in 2008. Like a flower that blooms before the final frost, this one seems to have faded away without getting it’s proper due. If that makes you sad, go check this one out.

PS – This album also features terrific artwork by my talented friend Thomas Dean.

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