Big immersive melodicism is a major ingredient in Lindley Creek’s recipe for a perfect folk album, and this is all the more obvious when listening to the prime cut “Over and Over” from the esteemed Whispers in the Wind LP. While there’s a lot to be said about the string thunder that circles us in tracks like this one, “That Page Won’t Turn” and “If this Road Could Talk,” it wouldn’t have nearly as grand an impact on the listeners were the arrangements not as tight as they are from the start of Whispers in the Wind up until its conclusion. Lindley Creek doesn’t necessarily try to embody the spirit of the classic folk gods in their performance here, but considering the way they make music, they have a lot in common with those who shaped this legendary genre.
Though lyrics are far from the centerpiece in “Breathe” and “Empty,” they’re used as a means of advancing the tension in the music brilliantly in this record, as opposed to the other way around. Usually, and especially in folk, verses find a mirror in a melody rather than serving to extend the mood of the instrumentation behind them, but as anyone familiar with Lindley Creek is more than aware by now, this isn’t a usual band by any standard. They want to be different from their competition, and by rejecting the most average formula in the book, they’re doing so without having to sacrifice a familiar tonal dominance common in most great folk records.
Even elaborate pieces like “If this Road Could Talk,” “Over and Over,” “Too Bad You’re No Good,” and “Summer is in the Air Again” sound simple and inspired thanks to the heady arrangements they receive from Lindley Creek, and honestly I don’t think they would have made sense here without the additional effort. It’s one thing to play a couple of straight folk tracks in a live concert and something entirely different to include them in an album, and to sound as even as this band does in Whispers in the Wind, they knew they would have to give the material and their performances an equal level of intensity – the likes of which their peers won’t be able to compete with easily.
I hadn’t heard the music of Lindley Creek before stumbling onto their latest record ahead of its official release in 2023, but it’s obvious from the creative parameters of their new release that they’re going to be the sort of folk act I enjoy covering in the future. They appreciate creative experimentation but aren’t willing to step away from something they’re good at just in the name of being different from everyone else; that said, they’re determined to cut away from the predictable in this performance, which is more than can be said for the vast majority of their rivals both in and outside of the American underground today. Whispers in the Wind is an ambitious album, but one I recommend checking out sooner than later just the same.