Over the last year or so there’s been a lot of vocalists of bands turning their hands to a solo project, generally something acoustic-lead and a lot more mellow than what the fans are used to. That said, very few people will do it as well as The Wonder Years frontman Dan “Soupy” Campbell has with his project Aaron West & The Roaring Twenties. He’s created a brutally honest, perfectly delivered and painfully heartfelt album with debut ‘We Don’t Have Each Other’ that will nestle inside peoples’ hearts the world over.
Opener ‘Our Apartment’ really sets the tone for the album; a gentle acoustic guitar in the background as Campbell‘s voice dances over the top before more instruments are introduced. Something that’s immediately noticeable is the sheer power of Campbell‘s voice towards the end of the track. This is also apparent towards the end of the emotionally powerful number ‘St. Joe Keeps Us Safe’, telling the tale of a struggling family, and ‘The Thunderbird Inn’.
‘Divorce And The American South’ seems to be a deeply personal song, delicately delivered by Campbell conveying his sorrow perfectly through the vocal performance as the story in the lyrics draws the listener in and makes them a part of the song. There are a few fast-paced numbers across the album to liven up the atmosphere but manage to keep in with the story telling theme, such as ‘Running Scared’ and later track ‘You Ain’t No Saint’ once the song hits its stride after the first verse. Final track, ‘Carolina Coast’, rounds off the record as it started, instrumentally and vocally gentle, ending on the subdued atmosphere that this story telling record creates perfectly.
Despite this record telling the story of a character, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was about Campbell himself with how much emotion he delivers on each track. The entire record is personable, relatable and incredibly powerful. What Campbell has created with ‘We Don’t Have Each Other’ is fantastic and demonstrates what a truly talented artist this man is. He’s come completely away from what The Wonder Years have made previously but has done it just as well, if not better.
‘We Don’t Have Each Other’ is a phenomenal record, and if you’re a fan of acts like City & Colour, especially their early work, or fresh faces like This Wild Life, then you need to get this album. You won’t regret it.
Written by Jonathon Barlow (@Narlow1)