The short version: The melodic construction and harmonies are spectacular on Farewell Angelina’s sophomore EP, but it could benefit even more from sharper writing and stickier hooks. Aside from this, the short length of the project doesn’t give it time to really grab the listener the way it should.
- Favorite tracks: “Ghosts,” “Baby,” “I Feel You”
- Least favorite track: “More Problems”
- Rating: 6/10
The short version: When you’ve spent time behind the scenes providing writing credits and backing vocals for other artists, it makes sense to team up with your fellow underdogs and venture out into the spotlight.
Granted, we’ve seen quite a few examples of songwriters do that (or just break out in other cases), but rarely do you come across a band like that actually opting for mainstream appeal.
Farewell Angelina has gone through a few lineup changes over the past few years, but they managed to remain steady and release their debut EP in 2016. Their newest EP, Women & Wine is exactly the kind of project fans will want to hear if they like the Dixie Chicks, SHeDAISY or Runaway June.
While Women & Wine is a fairly solid listen, it’s also one that feels like it could be better. The potential is there, and the melodic construction and harmonies are spectacular, but it could benefit even more from sharper writing and stickier hooks. Aside from this, the short length of the project doesn’t give it time to really grab the listener the way it should.
Sonically, this EP fits right into the wheelhouse of all of the aforementioned comparisons. This is slick country-pop that would have felt right at home on 2000s country radio.
The band makes the combination work too. Every now and then you’ll get a good combination of crunchy electric guitars and fiddles to bolster the melodic foundation like on “Vintage.” Other times, spacier textures give an extra layer of atmosphere to “Ghosts,” the title track and “I Feel You.”
The band also has a knack for crafting choruses that are earworms. It’s also where their harmonies are really allowed to shine. Even on the weaker tracks, it’s hard not to at least appreciate how they’re able to reel you in regardless.
While the hook of “Baby” is absolutely excellent, the band does stumble every now and then with cornier hooks. There are times where they try to cater to modern lingo, and while this EP features a very carefree, upbeat atmosphere overall, those attempts can still lead to awkward moments. The hook of “More Problems” feels repetitive and forced, and “Vintage” relies on checklist comparisons that ultimately lead to a pointless song. In other words, the band lacks the clever turns of phrases that similar bands possess.
To the band’s credit though, the carefree atmosphere does lend itself nicely to the EP’s thematic arc. Ironically, this group effort results in an EP centering around themes of individuality and breaking free to walk uncharted territory. “Women & Wine” isn’t the best kind of escapist tune, but aside from the usual good melody, there is an anthemic swell to it that gives the narrator something to hold onto. She relies on her friends to push on and leave the past behind.
Aside from all being stellar vocalists in their own right though, Farewell Angelina’s members also add quite a bit of charisma and sincerity to their performances. It’s why something like the title track sounds so uplifting while an opposite track like the kiss-off, “Baby” can also feel so damn fun.
Back to the note of individuality however, the EP is also diverse in its scope. Rather than just focus on relationships, the track “Ghosts” centers around an artist trying to make it in the music business and channeling inspiration from heroes long gone. It’s a cool perspective to see an artist rely on passion and inspiration and know they’re not really alone even if it feels like it sometimes.
It’s the same sentiment that lends itself nicely to “I Feel You,” another interesting track where the narrator can feel her significant other from far away on the road. In fact, for as fun as this EP can be, it’s the introspective moments like this, “Ghosts” and “Forever Be My Always” (which just has great production) that find the band at their best.
In some ways, this EP feels like a summer EP released at the wrong time. At other times, it feels like we get a glimpse of the band’s potential. While the songwriting isn’t the strongest on Women & Wine, especially during the verses, Farewell Angelina are nonetheless a talented group of artists with a knack for good melodic construction and stellar harmonies. This isn’t the best work the band is capable of producing, but it’s a great building block for what comes next for them.
(Light to decent 6/10)
Farewell Angelina is Lisa Torres, Nicole Witt, Andrea Young and Ashley Gearing
3 thoughts on “EP Review: Farewell Angelina – ‘Women & Wine’”
I’ll say the same thing I said about Runaway June’s EP. When I saw both groups live, I was impressed with the organic, and at times bluegrass-ish sound, with everyone playing instruments and singing harmonies. These folks sing and play just fine live, but the “modern” production masks that to a considerable degree. “Ghosts” is my favorite from this project (though I want to hear a live version without the extraneous production), and I note that one of the writers is Logan Brill, whom I also saw at CMA last summer. One of my favorite songs Logan recorded was a Stapleton tune called “No Such Thing As Ghosts.” Sweet Tea Trio is yet another “country girl group” I saw at CMA & they’re expected to release new music this spring.
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Yeah, I noticed they had a few live videos out. I accidentally clicked one trying to get a video for this post and noticed how much different it was. Anyway, definitely a good, naturally talented group to have in the genre!
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Yes, it’s definitely a more organic sound live. It seemed like there were about a gazillion promising “country girl groups” at CMA last year. I also saw Maddie and Tae, Presley and Taylor, etc. I’m curious to hear how “organic” the various acts choose to sound on their recordings.
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