CD REVIEW: Wow and Flutter by Amilia K. Spicer

The beauty of Amilia K. Spicer’s Wow and Flutter is a lasting thing. This twelve song collection isn’t the sort of release that will experience increasing irrelevance with time but, instead, has a widespread resonance that sets up listeners for repeated listeners. The depth of the composition, the uncluttered manner with which it is being handled, and the eloquently writing fueling every song means that listeners will likely hear something new each time they listen to the songs. She has increased the album’s chances for success thanks to enlisting instrumental support from an assortment of top class accompaniment that never seek out the spotlight and, instead, choose their spots to serve the song. Wow and Flutter is as fine of a recording as you’ll hear today in the Americana/folk genre and sparkles with musical talent and emotional depth.

It opens with its first single, “Fill Me Up”. The yearning she brings out of this performance is memorable without ever being overly theatrical and the musical synthesis of faint pop elements with the folk and blues textures has a credible sound that never sounds too precious for its own good. Her capacity for surprise and risk taking emerges immediately on the song “Harlan”. It begins with a brief string fanfare that will jolt some on an album like this but transitions nicely into something much different. It is, arguably, one of the purist folk numbers on the album and even has a slight Appalachian uplift in the acoustic guitar and vocal melody. Her storytelling skills are in full evidence before, but “This Town” stands out as a singular example of the high level where she frequently works. Her characters come to life with just the right amount of detail – particularly here. The delicacy continues with the song “Shotgun” and it shows off her talent for molding potentially darker subject matter in a melodic, appealing way.

The bluesy crawl of “Lightning” makes for one of the more atmospheric efforts on Wow and Flutter and she delivers one of the album’s more sultry performances. This isn’t an artist who plays such moments cheap, however – instead, she pours immense feeling into the vocal and shows patience that few modern singers exercise. Her string of crystalline jewels continues with the lightly cinematic “Windchill” and the vocal harmonies bring a great deal to the song. She takes a different turn on the song “Down to the Bone” and the presentation certainly embodies the title. The musical interplay between piano and acoustic guitar makes the track, but the piano leads the way and Spicer does a beautiful job tailoring her singing to that instrument. There are some lovely electric guitar touches in the number “Wild Horses” and she has her own distinct take on a possibly familiar title and image with a ghostly musical and lyrical mood that paints vivid pictures for the listener. The closing song “Shine” is another standout effort. It ends Wow and Flutter on a stirring high note that’s obviously constructed, but it moves with such patient conviction that it overcomes even a hint of artificiality. Spicer’s collection will really hit home with a large variety of listeners and Wow and Flutter’s greatness opens up her future even more than before.


by Lydia Hillenburg

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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