Vocally, I’ve always vouched for MacNeil. He has this crooked, wistful voice – off in just about all the right places at the right times.
I was first introduced to Wesley’s music via Bandcamp. His former band and project, Basement Tapes, had to my knowledge only ever released one thing – A six-track EP entitled Demo (released for free!).
Minute as it may have been, I connected with Demo, and to this day can still feel every single strum of the guitars, and appreciate just about every single lyric those three guys put together.
Whilst not being entirely appropriately titled, I found Demo to be something I’d been missing for a long, long time. It leaked lengths of passion similar to the likes of LA DISPUTE’s Wildlife and provoked me into a semi-self destructive, yet deeply reflective state – one I’d known had always existed but never dared to explore prior.
Although, whilst finding some difficulties with continuing the Basement Tapes project, MacNeil took his vocal obscurities elsewhere, leading his new band TEACHER – a heavier, much more flamboyant outfit – and pursuing a solo creative venture, having now recorded and released this four track EP ‘Honestly...’
It’s shuffled under ‘Folk’ – but I wouldn’t be so quick to pin this one down. Soft spoken, soft sounding, and a terrifically heartfelt end product. It’s clear from first track to last, MacNeil has ached over his craft for some time, but it is also solid proof that talent will shine through if the effort matches it.
I could quite easily reel off ten to twenty singer-songwriters who have dabbled in a similar style to MacNeil, but in my honest opinion that would be slack, and plain lazy journalism. My advice would be to go into this one blank minded, perhaps even open armed, because what you’ll come to find and possibly adore, is that this whole EP feels an important one. Great lengths of time and effort have gone into the initial writing of this material, and it evidently means a great deal to the artist – unfortunately that has become something of a rarity these days, so lap it up guys!
Edgy in places, and most certainly eloquent throughout; MacNeil drenches us in angst, but it’s more appropriate than you’d first come to imagine. A truly soulful record, and one hell of a debut solo. Check it OUT, and definitely keep peeled for what he and the other cool cats at TEACHER are gonna’ do next!