It’s almost too easy to hear the Nashville influence on alternative-rock project Leadwolf’s debut album, “Dreams.” Although the city is certainly more than just country music, the folk influence on Leadwolf’s rock sound is clearly evident in both twangy vocals and smooth choruses.
With an oddly diverse range of influences – from U2 to The xx to Oh Wonder – it comes as no surprise that Leadwolf’s sound is an even blend of indie rock, country, and alternative pop styles. Nash Propst’s vocals are deep, with a distinct accent; although the music can sound hollow at times, almost like something is missing, that vocal tone combines with syrupy choruses, smooth rhythms, and rocking guitar riffs to form the eclectic blend of sounds on “Dreams.”
Melodies and harmonies are perhaps one of the most important parts of each track on “Dreams.” Although country music is one of my least favorite genres, Leadwolf’s style is catchy; “I’ll Survive” and “Time” rang through my head long after the album was over. Everything on the album is thick and syrupy, too. “You’re A Mess” is sticky and golden, dragging out in the best way, and “Sounds of Our Youth” has dreamy, cloudy vocals and an echo that feels almost physical.
The album draws from all three genres in lyrical style, as well. Whether it’s a wholesome love song like “Good Man” (“That girl’s gonna make a good man out of me”) or an empowering ballad like “Be The Change” (“Wide awake/Dreamin’ of the day/Our hearts beat again/When we can be the change”) or a bittersweet track like “Time” (“Come back to me/Remember our symphony”), the only consistent theme is that of love.
It’s interesting to learn that the sub-genre of “Nashville sound” came about as a way to revive country music when rock was taking over; the genre is characterized by smooth choruses and sophisticated vocals, both of which are key factors in Leadwolf’s country-pop-rock sound on “Dreams.” It’s a little too twangy for my taste, although I can certainly appreciate the dreamy, golden tone that the unique blend of genres lends to the album.