Wells-next-the-Sea ups the production ante from their previous releases Guest House and Homes So Airtight for a fuller sound on Passenger Side. Nowhere is this more evident than on the broad shouldered, full band sound of “Chicago,” the centerpiece of this fine, five-song EP. Brennan Mackey’s deeply edgy voice gets fleshed out with some searing lead guitar from Danny Sherrard.
But they haven’t totally abandoned their minimalist core sound previously heard on gems such as “Over the Line” and “Wilten and Want.” Passenger Side opens with Dann Morr's graceful vocals charmingly augmented by Liz Barnett's singing and fiddle playing on "With Our Eyes Closed" (penned by Wells’ founders Morr and Philip Robbins). Mackey and Barnett’s loving duet on “No One Knows You Like I Do” officially qualifies as a ditty with the pluck of a ukulele. Banjo and guitar ably underscore the personal drama of “Keep in Front of the Storm.” “Taking Liberties” closes the affair with its touchingly sweet, smooth groove and Morr’s lead vocal.
Fans of The Head and the Heart, The Weepies, Kings of Convenience, Cotton Jones, et al. take note. With Passenger Side Chicago’s Wells-next-the-Sea moves over squarely behind the wheel of the alt-rock vehicle.
--Bill Dalton, former editor of IE, the Illinois Entertainer
released April 24, 2012
With Our Eyes Closed (Morr/Robbins)
Keep in Front of the Storm (Morr)
No One Knows You Like I Do (Barnett/Mackey)
Taking Liberties (Morr/Vazquez/Verblen)
Liz Barnett- vocals, violin
George Henner- drums
Brennan Mackey- vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, banjo, ukulele
Dann Morr- vocals, bass, acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, piano
Danny Sherrard- vocals, piano, electric piano, electric guitar
"Passenger Side" was recorded at Squirrel Trap Studio, Chicago, IL
Produced by Brian Royer
© 2012 Squirrel Trap Records- Some rights reserved
Artwork by Sara Millsap