Although it’s a lot gruffer than what many of his Colorado indie contemporaries have been working with in recent times, the voice of one Bruce Wayne Carl – the man best known as Warbler BC this fall – is something that undeniably puts a unique melodic stamp on everything he sings, and in the new record One, it tends to be the source of some truly unforgettable moments. Take the song “Fair” for example – although electrified with more fuzz than a Mudhoney demo, it feels like a vocal showcase through and through simply because of the rich texture Carl’s pipes emit around every twist and turn in the rhythm.
The way this man sings isn’t the exclusive reason I’d give when trying to convince you that One is among the few alternative records out of Denver audiences really have to be listening to this month – beyond his voice, what Carl is actually trying to get across to us in “Just What I Wanted,” “Don’t Fall in Love” and “Ulysses Song” runs deep into personal territory not normally explored in an album as lean and mean as this one is. Every bit of content here is personal and yet not even remotely self-centered, which is difficult to pull off with an emo-centric songwriter at the helm of the project.
When some people hear the term emo, they’re inclined to think of the commercially-propelled emo bands that fell backwards into popularity some fifteen years ago, but when I reference it here, I’m referring to the 80’s strain that started bands like Fugazi towards legendary status. “Starry Gown” is cut from the same cloth in many ways, as are “Trouble” and “Don’t Fall in Love,” but nothing here reeks with the inauthenticity of a throwback album for even a second.
I would be really curious to know how many takes “Trouble,” “Fair” and “Starry Gown” each required when Warbler BC commenced the recording process for One; if my gut is right, I’d say they were produced relatively quickly with little to no interest paid in what the mainstream status quo would call for in a debut record situation. There’s such an unfiltered feel to every song in this album, such an unrelenting strength to Carl’s vocal, that I would be surprised if anything took more than a couple of dry runs to play, mix and polish. The catharsis is natural, as is the instrumentation and the lead singer’s moxie.
Warbler BC, Category: Artist, Singles: Trouble, Starry Gown, Top Tracks: Trouble, Starry Gown, Biography: Born and raised in New York City, Bruce Wayne Carl's vocals have been called “Transfixing, Powerful, and Passionate.”, Monthly Listeners: 21, Where People Listen: Denver, Lewes, Liskeard, London, Penistone
If this is just a preview of what Warbler BC is going to be putting out on a regular basis in the future, I’ll be eagerly anticipating whatever Bruce Wayne Carl assembles for his next full-length offering. Alternative music could really use a new set of heroes in 2020, and if there’s a scene that has been dying to break open and share all of its gifts with the world in the last half-decade, it is absolutely that of Denver, Colorado. Warbler BC could be the act to bring the city some much-needed publicity, but in any case, the project’s debut LP is a win for indie buffs.