Review by Shannon Shumaker
The Kindness of Strangers is warm, honest and inviting release from Denver locals, Miles Wide. The EP was recorded in a church in Denver, and normally, where an album was recorded doesn’t matter quite as much as what it sounds like, but in this case, the location obviously had an effect on the sound of The Kindness of Strangers. Right from the beginning, you feel as if you are in the room with the three-piece. The acoustics on the EP are incredible, but not quite as incredible as the songwriting and lyricism.
“Let It Be You” is the warm, happy and inviting opening track. With a very raw live sound (you can literally hear the acoustic guitar and bass bouncing off the walls of the church) it’s impossible not to fall in love with this first track, or at the very least, feel as if you’re right there with the band. Lyrically, “Let It Be You” is the perfect intro to The Kindness of Strangers, as it directly tells the story of the EP in lines such as, “All I want is to be simple/All I want is to be free/Tell you all about my travels/Share the kindness that I’ve seen.” And musically, the song doesn’t hold back. From the stunning acoustic guitar work to the full sounding bass and piano, it is really the perfect opening track.
Following “Let It Be You” is “California,” which starts with beautiful acoustic guitar plucking, but quickly steps away from the opening song with a much fuller sound, especially in the catchy chorus. But like “Let It Be You,” California has that same warm quality that is sure to draw listeners to Miles Wide. It keeps the EP moving forward all while sticking to their roots. On top of that, the vocal work on “California” and “Let It Be You” is quite stunning. There’s a clarity and crispness to singer Kyle Donovan’s vocals that is just the cherry on top.
After the two strong opening tracks come a few sleepy middle songs in “Elizabeth” and “My Heart.” While “California” really picks up the pace of the EP, these two tracks slow things right back down, and though Miles Wide absolutely shine on slower tracks like these, it does give the middle of the EP a slight lull. That isn’t to say that the songs are boring by any means, though. “Elizabeth” is particularly beautiful because of the incredible vocals harmonies and emotional lyricism.
“The Score” follows “My Heart,” and definitely picks things right back up after the two slower tracks. Though “The Score” starts very similar to the songs that come before it, with quiet guitar picking and crisp vocals, it just keeps getting bigger and fuller as it progresses. A high point in the song is definitely when the full band and second vocal part come in, as it progresses very beautifully and naturally. On top of that, the imagery in the lyricsm is some of the strongest on the album, as Donovan croons about running away to the mountains.
Closing out The Kindness of Strangers is the lullaby, “Daylight To Spare.” Compared to “The Score,” this song does feel quite sleepy and lulls the EP to an end, and while I would have almost prefered a big ending like in “The Score,” the end of “Daylight To Spare” makes sense. Like everything else on The Kindness of Strangers, it feels easy and natural. From the live sound achieved by recording in an empty church to the poetic lyricism, The Kindness of Strangers is warm and inviting - just what you’d expect from this trio.
Listen to "The Score"
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