Throughout his residency we’ve gotten glimpses of Western Jaguar's sophomore LP, Wayfarer, with incredible singles such as Council and Bodie, CA, as well as visionary behind-the-scene looks at the creative and production process of the record. With the release of his first single Council, we knew this album was a move from the ambient alternative sound of Glacia to a more innovative folk-inspired rock, or more fitting troubadour-rock. If I had to place this sound among other bands, it would be The War on Drugs and The National, but a comparison does not do justice to the unique and thoughtful sound of Western Jaguar’s Wayfarer.
The bar was set high for this album, and ladies and gentlemen I’m proud to say that Western Jaguar exceeded expectations and really has mastered his sound with Wayfarer. This proves why I love and work to support independent artists: they are the source of creativity and diverse musical progress in an industry of over-saturated, formulaic monotony. Wayfarer is one of the best albums from a true indie artist I have ever heard, no exaggeration. With his advanced development in guitar work, layering, and production, the album has a rich inner soul which resonates this evocative natural vibe. Sonically Wayfarer is wholesome: wise yet novel, both conveying honed-in experience yet also a level of ambitious ingenuity. Lyrically and thematically, the album is inherently Western Jaguar, with introspective stream of consciousness and vulnerability, yet a unique sense of warm sympathetic comfort in troubled times.
This is an album of intense sentiments that demands to be felt, going from aching displacement to yearning heartbreak to a haunting melancholy. Jeffrey puts it best when he invites us to: “step inside my mind for a little while, just leave your body at the door” in Bodie, CA. Emotions are aurally embodied in Frontier Town where effective uses of silences and acoustic strings/piano make listeners realize how “it resonates in an eerie way, it resonates with myself as I wait it’s almost surreal to think about what it used to be, but contemplating further It’s hard to be here.” Nature becomes the cathedral of feeling in both the lovely synth-organ instrumental Shores and the alt-folk-turn-electronic Bathe--I mean how can you not love the nuanced lyric: “I’ve seen the end, at least my idea of it. It’s so close to fiction, it’s almost religious, awakes my malaise.” It’s incredible how cohesive the lyrics and the instrumentals are with one another, creating this passionate release that one can truly immerse oneself in.
Every song on this album is beautifully constructed and true to the wandering essence that Trainor describes Wayfarer to be. We follow Western Jaguar on a journey outside his comfort zone with this innovative album, and cover-to-cover it’s an epic and invigorating adventure. In an album based on the idea of lost ghost towns, Western Jaguar surely found an essential sound full of life. He traveled to new places on Wayfarer, but somewhere along the way he found his sonic home.
Be sure to get your copy of Wayfarer on Thursday, March 26th via Western Jaguar's Bandcamp