Album review: Portraits paints a picture of a place, not a person


Brett Wildeman

Brett Wildeman hails from the Sunshine Coast, where he recorded his second EP, Portraits, in March 2012. The five-song track list takes you on a relaxing journey through the sounds of the West Coast, from raw acoustics to the ocean lulling behind his chords. It’s an album worth checking out. You can hear him perform live in Victoria on March 9, too.

The album begins with the clapping beat of “Midnight Snack.” I was drawn in by the happy tempo paired with simple strumming. The touch of electric guitar that echoes in the background adds just the right amount of depth. Wildeman’s raspy voice leads the verses through this light-hearted tune. On the chorus, his voice blends with clean, sweet-sounding female vocals. Just lovely.

The next track, “October 25th,” begins with the same blend of voices, though much more subtly. The slower tempo is more vocally driven, but it picks up with a light drum rhythm toward the end of the song.

“One Year Pass” starts off calm then picks up a folky drive with light drums, strings and a touch of electric guitar that got me in a dancey mood. The upbeat fiddle solo makes a nice segue back into the original tempo, bookending the song.

“Old Woman’s Mind” recalls the calm start of the previous song but carries a subtle drum rhythm. Fiddle-plucking caught my ear in the second verse. The vocals on this track are thicker, including more female voices to balance Wildeman’s strong rasp.

The final track, “Roosters on Red,” begins with the wave-washing sound of a peaceful ocean shoreline and a simple guitar melody that feels like a lullaby. It flows into the chorus, which sounds like a second movement. The guitar is reminiscent of a harp, and intertwining vocal harmonies chant, “Home.” The last chorus segues back into the ocean sounds for the final minutes of the album.  It’s the perfect ending to a journey through the coastal soundscape of Wildeman’s home.

This album is great if you’re looking to wind down after a busy day. It’s relaxing and has just enough drive to keep your ears happy while the acoustics keep the mood mellow. The strings add a folky feel to the songs, and the female vocals compliment Wildeman’s one-of-a-kind voice. The lyrics explore memories and history, painting a portrait of West Coast sound and story.

Brett Wildeman and 
West My Friend
March 9 @ 7:30 p.m.
Solstice Café (529 Pandora Ave.)