Thomas Wynn and the Believers: Wade Waist Deep Review

Thomas Wynn and the Believers, a six-piece band from Orlando, Florida, will celebrate the release of its third album Wade Waist Deep this weekend, a 12-track project that manages to sound raw and polished at once. The band has a considerable lack of visibility on rock’s national stage, despite local accolades: voted the Best of Orlando #1 Rock Band from 2009 through 2015 by Orlando Weekly, TW&TB have performed at festivals and in small venues, shared stages with the likes of Gov’t Mule, the Wallflowers, Blackberry Smoke and others, and last year signed with Mascot Label Group, the blues label that’s home to artists like Beth Hart and Eric Gales. It’s difficult to crack the code for success in the music business, but it might be time for TW&TB to earn recognition on a larger scale.

Blues Rock Review premiered a Wade Waist Deep track last month, a song that has a slow, cautious start before it busts open 90 seconds in with the powerful vocals that lead singer Thomas Wynn is known for. Co-written by Thomas Wynn and Tyler Bryant, the lyrics in “My Eyes Won’t Be Open” are a reaction to the fear of (and determination against) leaving this world with regrets. It’s one of a few notable contemplative tracks on this album, with “Wade Waist Deep” and single “Man Out of Time” offering reflections on loneliness and time expired.

Most tracks on Wade Waist Deep deliver clear messages, whether through the stories relayed (like the narrator following his mother’s advice in the title track or remembering the hurt in “Heartbreak Alley”) or the song titles alone (“Feel the Good,” “Man Out of Time” and “We Could All Die Screaming” all cut straight to the point before the songs even begin). Even more compelling than the emotive lyrics is the album’s structure. The presence of keys and organ throughout Wade Waist Deep invites moments that feel almost spiritual, a likely product of the band’s Southern roots. These moments are heard as early as album opener “Burn as One” and blossom on the fourth track “I Don’t Regret,” which dips into soul with help from keyboardist Colin Fei’s skillful ear and the duet of brother-sister vocal team Thomas and Olivia Wynn. “Feel the Good” is a strong representative for the first four tracks: the positivity woven into the lyrics and melody sprouts a feeling of hope that pulls the listener through “Heartbreak Alley” and “I Don’t Regret,” molding the tracks together despite their conflicting themes. But Wade Waist Deep takes a turn with “Man Out of Time”: it’s a twist you can hear, a dip into Southern rock’s darker, bluesier realm. This mood persists for the rest of the album, with “Mountain Fog” serving as a natural follow-up to “Man Out of Time” and “Turn it Into Gold” crystalizing the vibe as its smoldering beginning builds to a breaking point halfway through that erupts with grinding guitar, crashing percussion and the Wynns’ vocal cries. “Turn it Into Gold” would work as a powerful close to the album if the band didn’t still have three songs left on its docket, the title track among them.

Likely due to its six-person lineup, Wade Waist Deep achieves the breadth of a full band without unnecessary studio polish. TW&TB sound raw but not rough, and the band members are clearly striving towards a specific sound and effect. Though “Feel the Good” is one of the album’s stronger songs, its tone is not necessarily that of the band’s future. The album is solid before “Man Out of Time,” but that song signals a change, an opportunity that TW&TB spend the rest of the album exploring. If Wade Waist Deep is an indication of TW&TB’s new musical direction, the band’s next album will be something to look out for.

The Review: 7.5/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– Feel the Good
– Man Out of Time
– My Eyes Won’t Be Open
– Wade Waist Deep

The Big Hit

– Man Out of Time

Review by Meghan Roos

Buy the album: Amazon | Amazon UK

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