Artist: Wes Kirkpatrick
Album: Naps & Nightmares
Label: My Forlorn Wallet Records
Released: March 1, 2011
Wes Kirkpatrick is a singer/song-writer based out of Chicago, IL. He previously played in project with his brother in Colorado called the Kirkpatrick Project. Being his first solo record, Naps & Nightmares is a 10-song record that touches genres like folk, rock, and pop. The album has it up beat songs and its more mellow ones.
The album starts off with “Vertigo” that features some really cool harmonies with a female voice. It is a steady, but mellow opener of a song. “Superstition” and “Home” are both very upbeat songs are standout tracks on the record. While there is a lot of folk and rock influence in his music, at times he reminds the listener of Jack Johnson with his vocals and overall sound. Within the half of the album, different sounds are utilized such as guitar, bass, cello, piano, and violin. There are also plenty of harmonies that add some great texture to the songs that have a stripped-down sound. It is a pretty cool to see artists using different sounds from many instruments to fill out the overall sound, especially when it can be easy to go the electronic route.
“So Long” starts the second half off with the addition of electric guitar. Compared to the rest of the album is a surprisingly upbeat song that helps balance the record out nicely. “Better Than Today” is one of the slow songs that features guitar and keys. Lyrics in the song seem to reveal thoughts on moving from Colorado to Chicago and dealing with new surroundings. “Waiting by the Window” keeps the slow tempo and has some nice cello work. The song sounds a lot like something off one of local Wisconsin artist, Mike Droho’s records. It is good song and brings back the female backup vocals. The album closer, “Karma” has features a drum kit, bass and electric guitar as the backbone of the song. The song comes off as more of a blues rock song. Not sure whether the keys in the background were recorded for this song or if they were taken from another place, but it is once more another layer of sound. The song works well and just sort of ends, closing out the record.
Overall, for a first solo record, Naps & Nightmares is a pretty solid release. It is pretty evident to the listener that Wes Kirkpatrick knew what kind of record he wanted to make and executed that plan well. The album will be especially nice on a long drive and or rainy days. It just has that type of feel to it. Using a plethora of instruments to accomplish that full sound was a wise choice. It’s too easy to play into the electronic or studio tools to get the full sound nowadays. There are lots of reasons to be optimistic about Wes Kirkpatrick’s future as he proves he can write both pop hooks and indie songs. Hopefully Naps & Nightmares gets him on the map and can obtain an opening slot on solid tours to get his name out there!