The vibrant strumming of an acoustic guitar is punctuated by a bright, soft lead that exotically dances around the chords like a slow burning fire, and in the light of the flames is none other than Phillip Broussard, whose honey like voice matches the warmth and glow of the embers, even when he lays into the emotional, honest lyrics of Just Wanna Believe, the opening track of his stunning new extended lay Wavelength.
“I just wanna believe that you’d be there for me, ‘cause one day I hope you’ll see what your love’s doin’ to me” he croons over the bridge, the sincerity gripping his vocals and leaving us spellbound by the harsh reality that it describes. It’s followed by the playful hesitance of “In My Chords,” which features a whispering guitar that Broussard lightly leans against whilst weaving his springy, optimistic lyrics that bring the vibe back up from the dirge of the previous track.
Wavelength meets its halfway point with the angular, suffocating roots ballad Drowning, which stylishly creeps out of the silence and cuts some of the fiercest guitar licks I’ve ever heard on a straight acoustic recording. Broussard has a very straightforward image as an entertainer that the framework of his songs support well, but it would be criminal not to acknowledge his ability to go stone cold when the mood is right, and it’s in these moments that I think he performs at the highest level.
Drowning is reminiscent of unplugged 1990’s alternative rock but far less pretentious and faux rebellious; it’s the best song on this extended play, but also one of the most evocative and exciting tracks I’ve heard in a minute. It’s succeeded by Best Friend, w song which is all at once a more contemporary, country-styled ballad that speaks to Broussard’s overt pop crossover ability, and in my view, the most radio-ready piece on the whole of Wavelength.
We wrap things up with All Over Again, which serves as the perfect capping to all of the lush, well produced content that we’ve just sampled from. When we analyze Phillip Broussard’s work to date in its entirety, it’s befitting that this extended play start off with minimalist folk melodies and end up with some sparkling indie pop; to a great deal I think this arc summarizes his ascent to super-stardom that we’re witnessing right now.
Make no mistake about it; Wavelength is Broussard’s Something About Today. It’s showing us not just what he’s developing his sound into, but how he’s going about developing it. From the subtle, placid nature of his arrangements to his bold, plaintive narratives, he’s giving us direct insight into his process with this release. As a critic, this is fascinating, and as a music aficionado, it’s exciting and different than anything that we’re used to in this genre. A lot of us like to talk about what “true” indie music really is, but I have to ask, what could be more genuine and legit than constructing this kind of direct access between listener and artist? I couldn’t think of anything either.