Balance, beauty, bone-crushing grit and superlative technique, are all to be found in the lush sounds of “New Worlds and Ancient Mysteries” by The Unwell. The great melodies, plenty of thick atmospheres and soaring vocals will appeal to a broad spectrum of music fans. Rock instrumentation meets brass orchestration in a dynamic, dramatic and emotional set of soundscapes that are both retro and futuristic. In most cases you expect an album to come launching out of the gates to grab your attention. And this is exactly what this recording does. The dramatic prose and poignant musical narrative combined with tasteful keyboard segments on the opening track “Dilemma”, begins to lure you down the rabbit hole, before the guitar riffs and high-flying vocals completely lock you in.
Formed on 2021 by Dave & Sam, The Unwell mix different genres and stylings in a concept album which flirts with the theme of grief in its various forms and circumstances. The band’s vast number of influences include Tame Impala, Radiohead, Muse, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dire Straits and Deep Purple.
The mood of their tracks is as thought provoking as it is cathartic, whisking you away on its lyrical, musical and vocal journey. Eccentric experimentation adds a distinct uniqueness in comparison to the band’s counterparts.
The vibe is immediate on “Ticking Bomb”, as horns, organs and jangling guitars unfold a funky and soulful rock backdrop. The vocals wail and soar to the next level.
Compositionally, The Unwell strike a mainstream-friendly version of the balance that defines technically intricate instrumentation, sweeping emotion and cerebral arranging. By the time the band delivers “So Long”, they emerge as a fully cohesive unit with a kind of surgical precision in their playing.
The Unwell can switch on a dime from crushing rock riff sections to gentle, soulfully-inflected moments of harmonic respite. “Souls From Inner Worlds” sees the band wrapped up in another funky brass-filled jam.
The juxtaposition of the mercurial song structure and the driving rhythm showcases a musical portrait of a band that continue to deepen their sound. As always, the shining vocals offer moments of higher glory. This is one of those tracks that get better and better with each listen.
The slower, “Caged” seems to have so much going on but without disrupting its atmospheric flow and is absolutely stunning through headphones. Its darker sound and deliberate drum track really stand out, having the potential to blossom and flourish.
“Regret” is even smoother, awash with rich streams of melody and harmony. When it comes to sheer simplicity, this track becomes a master class in making more from less. “Signs” completely switches the template with a piano-driven Americana flavored template.
The upbeat throb of “Rest in Peace” closes the album. Everything is clean and balanced, and the lead vocal easily cuts through the instrumentation, on track that has all the characteristics of a mainstream indie pop-rock cut.
On the whole, the album sets indie rock up with the genius of classic organic instrumentation and produces something both credible and demonstrably well crafted. Throughout, Dave & Sam aka The Unwell, collaborated with a variety of artists to complete the recording.
The Unwell’s debut album “New Worlds and Ancient Mysteries” is a positive reflection of rock and its derivatives, in the 21st century. The neat trick of this recording is mastering cleverly structured songs, with a variety of sonic flourishes, time changes, bridges, and rhythms that are rich and tightly disciplined. Lush and intense, a broad palette of melodic moods and hues are cogently arranged without excessive indulgences. The Unwell are opening up a whole new world of music to you!