The Wiley One
Sammy Wiley, a.k.a. The Wiley One, is the brother of Cristiana Cole and Marta Wiley (of local esoteric rock group W.O.M.B.), and judging by his new CD, there's some serious talent in the genes. Wiley's album opens with "Possibilities," an upbeat acoustic song reminiscent of Jack Johnson's work on Brushfire Fairytales, then moves on to bouncy folk-ska with "False Reality." Wiley's guitar-playing harks back to the hard pick-and-pluck style of players like Nick Drake (minus the morose vibes), but all the songs here are driven by springy reggae beats and positive panache. "Open the Lock" sails along on a booming dancehall beat, mixed with rap and oh-oh-ee-oo vocals not unlike those the Police used on "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic," while "The Beer Song" displays the kind of funky swagger usually reserved for stumbling downstairs after a Saturday night spent drinking and doing things you don't remember on Sunday morning. Not every track is a standout ("No. 7 Kid" sounds too much like a 311 song), but tunes like "Vampire Scars" — with its lovely, languid synths, breathy vocals, and pulsing beats — more than fill the gaps.
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