Western Daughter – “As The Sun Went Down” Review

Posted: by Sean Gonzalez

As the year 2015 comes to a close, most individuals will be reflecting on what made the 365 days great or unbearable. Maybe it is specific moments, maybe it was entire months of either pure dread or flawless joy. “At Least Nobody Got Hurt” starts off As The Sun Went Down and offers the same reflective perspective of life through a bleeding Americana tune. Taylor Hawkins, frontman for Western Daughter, offers a bitter remembrance of how he used to cope with loneliness but now walks alongside a calm drum pattern into the unknown, into 2016 and with the same fears he thought he had conquered through his growth.

His constant questioning of not knowing how to win the presence of love is littered across the rest of the album and is delivered with chord progressions that wander through melodies, leaving Hawkins fighting for his own space to pursue his emotional uneasiness. “My Room Is A Mess” is a constant wind up between the rapid delivery of the vocals and the constant guitar plucking a catchy lead that doesn’t offer any resolution until the song lets everyone breathe in its bridge. “Except You” and “Graphic Novel” are heavier tracks infused with hazy guitars monotonously riding with a fuzzy distortion. “Downtown Again” is a bouncy folk tune with a bit of uncanny vocals that are in your face.

“The Road Is Laced With Something Dangerous” has a grim narrative in the lyrics that mesh well with the gloomy tones and compositions that Western Daughter built for this particular track. Its the kind of song that blends the right kind of emotional turmoil with enough musical ambition that it comes off as entirely honest. Each time the refrain happens it is a natural halt to the crunchy guitars that instead find themselves shoegazing, focusing on airy atmospheres for Hawkins to fall through, “Tell me something good, show me something better. Take me to the woods, and then just drag me underwater. Underwater, that’s where I’ll find her.” 

As The Sun Went Down is an album full of different genres that were thrown into a blender of sounds and made into an alcoholic drink. Have enough of it and you could end up crying at the same distraught and lonely thoughts that then force you into a coma and next thing you know you’re hungover and missed class. “Don’t Ever Leave” spirals through the final downward nosedive of downhearted upheaval, ending with a rather ghoulish distaste. Western Daughter have a few more issues to work out and I’m sure when they start writing again they will develop their soundscape even more. For now, their debut is a raw talent show of the unknown future. 

Score: 7.2/10