Review by Dom Vigil
The five songs on Ned and The Dirt’s new EP, Wild Pack: Haunt These Woods not only follow a common theme and tell a story in a very short amount of time, but they all manage to sound very diverse and different from one another. Each song on the EP is strong for its own reason, all while working together to create one final product.
“Leading Pines, Chasing Flights” is the perfect intro to the album, filled with soulful, emotional vocals as singer/guitarist Ned Durrett croons, “Set me free/Like I know you can.” On top of the powerful vocal work, which almost sounds like a hymn when the group vocals come in, the song completely explodes when the full band comes together. “Leading Pines, Chasing Flights” seems to breathe, getting big and blooming, before becoming small and quiet once more, making each moment memorable and meaningful.
Taking a large step away from the massive opening track is “We Scream Party.” The transition between “Leading Pines, Chasing Flights” and “We Scream Party” is a little bit shaky at first, as you don’t really expect such an upbeat song after the slower opener, but as soon as the song comes together (which is well before the first chorus) it’s a very miniscule and easy flaw to look past. “We Scream Party” feels like letting loose and being proud of who you are - it’s just too fun to listen to. The great thing about these five songs is that they’re not all what they may seem at first. Each track really grows into its own before the end. Take “We Scream Party,” for instance, which just gets more and more wild, even completely changing key in the crazy instrumentals toward the end.
The transition between wild, “We Scream Party” and ambient beginning of “Edgemont” is surprisingly seamless, making up for the slightly rough transition between the first two songs by miles. While not quite as loud and energetic as the first two songs, “Edgemont” is beautiful and laid back, showing us yet another side of Ned and The Dirt while still keeping the EP moving forward. Then, “Stay Trashed, Stay Raring” comes in and picks up the pace once more. Spearheaded by easily the best bass work on the entire EP, this song is one that will worm its way into your head - you’re bound to be singing along with the “whoa”s or at least tapping your foot along by the end.
Then, bringing the album to a close is “What No One Seems To Know,” which is big and emotional, much like “Leading Pines, Chasing Flights.” The EP comes full circle before coming to a close, with Durrett chanting, “Not alone/Not alone/I am not alone,” a strong anthem to bring things to an end. The story passes with a blink of an eye, the EP growing, progressing and then bringing things right back to the beginning before you even notice it, guaranteeing that you’ll be giving it another listen shortly after, just to take it all in once more. If this is what Ned and The Dirt can do with an EP, I’d love to hear the evolution on a full-length.
Listen to "Leading Pines, Chasing Flights"
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