40 Watt Sun
Wider Than The Sky
14th October 2016 – Radiance Records
02. Beyond You
03. Another Room
05. Craven Road
40 Watt Sun are the rarest kind of band, creating intrigue and excitement abound whenever their name crops up. It’s been five long years since their last full length and I ached for a follow-up – so announcement of Wider Than The Sky was met with champagne corks let loose. With the delays and issues along the way we started to question whether this record would ever see the light of day…but the wait is over.
With this expectation, it should hardly be surprising that Wider Than The Sky is not a casual listen. Clocking in at just over an hour, the six tracks are to be savoured and enjoyed as one; it’s a charming collection of melancholia that maintains its sombre consistency throughout, right from opening track “Stages” which admirably defines the story to come.
The album’s structure is fairly standard; this is without a doubt a 40 Watt Sun record, but an emotional, enigmatic depth allows its forlorn tale to unravel. The sparse majesty comes into play on “Another Room“, with each instrument being struck deliberately and in turn; everything is allowed to breathe – to shine – and even at its most faint 40 Watt Sun still continue to illuminate.
Clocking in at a mere four minutes, closing song “Marazion” is the shortest track by a good margin, but it serves a purpose: a final, condensed snapshot of everything this album has to offer; a final act that draws this gargantuan record to a close perfectly. Filled with longing, it’s nevertheless dichotomous: there is a brightness to be found in the guitar lines that weave the track together; sharper, more purposeful than the wistful sense of loss that makes up the rest of the album.
Wider Than The Sky is everything you’d hope for in a 40 Watt Sun record, treading the line between misery and joy in way that feels decisive and thoughtful. Its acoustic laments and electric highlights are utterly enthralling, and the sparse yet introspective Michael Stipe-esque vocal of Patrick Walker is transcendent, elevating these songs into something really special – not be missed. If ever there were to be a soundtrack to autumn, it’d most certainly be Wider Than The Sky.