A clean cut acoustic indie-folk trio from Bournemouth, who go by the name of Willowen provide fun storytelling lyrics that also provide scenic values as their vocals harmonise wonderfully over an acoustic guitar and violin, supported by the beat of a Cajon.
The self-titled debut release from the band proves that an artist doesn’t have to sing about serious issues in life, or a long lost love to make a song great. Willowen make their songs great by writing and singing gleefully about whatever they want to, for example, in the toe-tapping ‘Monster’, as they sing “it’s a monster living in my paddling pool” and the creative ‘Happy Vampire’ as it opens with a Dracula-style voice, saying “Igor, fire up the campervan” before bellowing out the vampire laugh we have come to know from TV and Film.
Although the same instruments are used again and again on the tracks, all the songs sound very different, with a number of genres floating across the album. ‘When You’re Here’ includes a reggae/ska style strumming pattern in the verses, as well as the school-boyish lyrics on the sweet male-female ballad type duet ‘You Said Hush’.
The instrumentation that supports the vocals is perfect, suiting the soft tones of the vocals. You can easily find yourself lost violin player Jasmine Watkiss’ intricate execution; standing out beautifully against the creative picking and strumming patterns, especially on ‘Pink Sky’ and ‘The Night Beach’. Another stand out song for a picking pattern can be heard in the intro of ‘Mindmaps’, before a ukulele underlays the acoustic guitar.
In a musical world where genres are made up almost every day, Willowen somehow find themselves all on their own, with nobody really sounding the same. Acoustic bands are almost constantly compared to Mumford and Sons but Willowen are completely different. Some may say that Willowen are basic, but deep down, after scratching the surface, you see how elegant their music actually is, even if it is about monsters and vampires. Ladies and Gentlemen, this is creative control at its best.