William Tyler‘s latest album is a strong set of warmly-crafted acoustic instrumentals that can succeed with taking you on an emotional journey, but also just as easily fade into being pleasant background music. Goes West continues Tyler’s trend of taking inspiration from folk, country, Americana, Appalachian and classical music and blending them together into rich musical tapestries, but only occasionally do they truly demand your full attention.
“Rebecca” open with a peaceful, serene melody and take on a melancholy air as it moves along, telling an emotional story without words. Another strong number is “Venus in Aquarius”, which with its muted marching drums, calls to mind a gang of 1800’s youths forming an impromptu parade. It’s these tracks that manage to create emotional or visual imagery that stand out best in the set, even though every song on the album has completely enjoyable.
First single “Fail Safe” rides Americana rhythm that would make a perfect soundtrack for a cheery drive, and “Man in a Hurry” almost seems to be smiling and winking at you with it’s calm mosey. It’s simply hard, when listening to the album on the whole, to not drift off and let the music take a backseat to one’s own thoughts, as the instrumentation is generally so relaxing and even-keeled that it does tend to blend together.
When really listening closely, like on the lyric-less love song “Our Lady of the Desert”, it’s possible to parse out a tale simply from the changes in tone and pace of Tyler’s playing, but for casual listeners, Goes West will be something to play while driving, studying or winding down at night. There’s beauty throughout, but it doesn’t demand your full attention.