You’d be forgiven for expecting a group that consists of Tom Williams (guitarist in Stray From The Path) and Jesse Barnett (frontman of Stick To Your Guns) to be somewhat in line with the post-hardcore nature of their aforementioned groups.
Yet, fans of Trade Wind will already know better, as the group show again with their second album that a little bit of a break from the usual can result in truly great things.
Trade Wind trade (pardon the pun) hardcore aggression for a far more reserved, heartfelt atmospheric soft-rock lightly that’s neatly dusted with a dream-like quality. Barnett‘s vocals are frequently like candy floss, delivered subtly, delicately and with a poignant purpose, while Williams has a blast in finding a plethora of wispy guitar effects that really impact the melancholic mood of the record. Each track is packed with synthetic echoes and spiralling, chorus-ridden melodies that wind together to create a beautifully airy atmosphere across 13 tracks.
Opener ‘Surrender’, with its twanging melodies and gentle, breezy backings welcomes you with a gentle handshake, introducing the delicate sounds that are explored so expertly throughout. It’s these timidly fluttering stylistic shifts that give the record its power, as songs like ‘I Can’t Believe You’re Gone’ and ‘Moonshot’ twin tender grooves with floaty guitar tracks, accumulating in really lovely and creative results.
‘Untitled II’ serves as one of the most musically stunning, yet simplistic tracks on show here. As a sweet acoustic riff is accompanied by semi-whispered vocals and supporting swells offer a minute-long moment of magic that breaks up the record majestically.
While the more stripped moments are striking, there’s also a fine balance between the swaying, cloud-like tracks and those like ‘Flower Machine’, ‘No King But Me’, and the crashing climax of ‘Beige’, which all pump up the distortion. The ‘rockier’ cuts tend to harness Andrew McEnaney‘s complimenting off-beat drum work that contrasts an injection of emo-indie influences to the tracks, while Barnett is also given the chance to stretch his vocal cords, reaching through belted cleans, without ever being too heavy to feel compositionally out of place with the record’s subtle momentum.
What Trade Wind have accomplished on ‘Certain Freedoms’ might be a far cry from Williams‘ and Barnett‘s usual musical outings, but it certainly doesn’t disappoint. Comprising new artist elements and sounds outside of their standard genres shows them flex their creative muscles, and produce a subtle, yet beautiful release.