Posts Tagged ‘Wayfinder’

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For every singer-songwriter who traffics in hushed, poignant melodies and writes naked and self-effacing lyrics, the specter of Elliott Smith looms large. The dearly-departed poet laureate of beautiful and bedeviling ballads died nearly two decades ago, but his influence and impact can still be felt with every new troubadour who has the courage to air their shortcomings.

Taylor Vick, the Oakland-based artist who records as Boy Scouts, makes the same kind of melancholy and elegiac music that was Smith’s specialty. While there are traces of contemporary artists like Hand Habits, Cass McCombs, and Angel Olsen in Boy Scouts, the hauntingly direct and gorgeously composed songs that make up her upcoming album, “Wayfinder”, contain all the classic hallmarks of Smith above all else. While comparisons to Elliot Smith are made often and with a certain amount of recklessness, Vick is the rare artist who truly deserves those plaudits.

On the first single from Wayfinder, “That’s Life Honey,” Vick employs the same plinking piano movements that were the driving force behind Smith’s XO, and her breathy, cooed delivery is reminiscent of the late-night requiems found on “Either/Or”. Lyrically, Vick shares Smith’s brutally honest approach to song writing, lamenting on “That’s Life Honey,” that she’s the ”Master of inexplicable shame/Write it down to rewire my brain.” Throughout Wayfinder, which is being released on Friday through ANTI- Records, Vick is unafraid to tackle enormous, existential issues of life, death, belonging, doubt and acceptance.

Her latest single, “A Lot To Ask,” is a grooving acoustic number impelled by a soft bassline and Vick’s emotive vocals. The song is again riddled with painful introspection, as Vick admits that being herself is “a lot to ask.”

While Vick has obvious links to Smith, it’s important to note that she’s a formidable and unique artist who is crafting out her own memorable identity. A careful (and at times playful) crafter of lyrics, Vick has a way of capturing the wry nature of today’s times, when you can’t help but laugh at all of life’s follies. Wayfinder is the result of an ambitious singer-songwriter unafraid to pursue the highest peaks of her genre.

Released October 1st, 2021

The Oakland, California singer/songwriter Boy Scouts (aka Taylor Vick) releases ‘That’s Life Honey‘, the first single from her new album, ‘Wayfinder‘.

There are so many hugely talented young female indie singer/songwriters coming out of the US at the moment that it must feel daunting to feel you’re having to work alongside women like Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, Julien Baker, Tomberlin, Squirrel Flower, Jay Som, et al. However, it’s not something Boy Scouts should not lose any sleep about. Boy Scouts is quietly but sure-footedly taking her rightful place as one of the best of them… although, it’s hard to imagine Boy Scouts trying to elbow her way to the front of anything: quietly, wryly observing from the side-lines would seem to be more her style.

‘That’s Life Honey‘ opens with the timeless mix of acoustic guitar, bass and drums that bring to mind Neil Young’s ‘Heart of Gold‘ or Conor Oberst’s ‘Zigzagging Toward The Light‘, but when Taylor Vick’s vocals come in, you hear an understated but distinctive voice that delivers her lyrics with a confessional intimacy that doesn’t seem in any way forced or affected. With three previous albums released, Vick is an experienced songwriter who knows how to hook a listener and ‘That’s Life Honey‘ holds up to repeated listens thanks to the excellent production from her long time collaborator Stephen Steinbrink and some lovely playing from various talented friends and family who guested on the album.

The label has pulled out all the stops with a promo high on cinematic production values. The song deals with the struggle to find the resources needed to recover from adversity and Vick is filmed literally ‘at sea’, alone on ocean in a small boat as she searches for a safe harbour. Director Jake Nokovic and DOP David Hughes Jr do a good job of getting the most from the limited space available when filming in such a confined space and there’s even some nice performance footage of Vick singing and playing guitar in the tiny cabin.

Boy Scouts brings an impressive, quiet intensity to thoughtful, well-written indie-folk songs. Get onboard and take a trip out on the lonely ocean with her.

“That’s Life Honey” by Boy Scouts from the album ‘Wayfinder’, available October 1st.