Dubbed, “The hardest working band in Michigan,” Kalamazoo’s Indy Rock enchanters, Willamena, have unleashed their sixth studio effort Strong Enough To Last, mixed by Grammy award winner Cameron Webb. Comparable to Rob Thomas, and The Gas Light Anthem, this slew of radio friendly real estate is a much-needed Vitamin B shot for the weathered soul.
On a steady assent since 2013 with the releases Lost In The Shadows, and The Light Ahead in 2015, the four gentlemen of Willamena are no strangers to success. Charting both nationally and internationally on a list of billboards too vast to put in this review, Willamena has now unleashed the hounds of positivity with their most recent five song EP, Strong Enough To Last. It’s the perfect dose of sonic Prozac for anybody worn down by the customary bombardment of shallow clichés and dismal subject matter flooding today’s usual writ. Only 21 minutes from start to finish, this tiny gun packs significant power. Lost in the Shadows cuts out the fat and keeps an approachable demeanor, showing a cultivated ability to write potential hit after hit.
Opening this EP, we have “Strong Enough To Last.” The aptly named title track sets the proper tone, taking you out of focus and pulling you into their proverbial space via bittersweet chord progressions layered with the melancholic wail of a harmonica. Vocalist Lucas Ross is nothing short of brilliant and inspiring; if his glass half full cynicism doesn’t fill you with a sense of elation and inner perspective then his expressive tone and keen sense of melody is guaranteed to raise a few eyebrows. The most blatant example is the first single, “When You Close Your Eyes.” It’s an auditory buffet of airy guitars, catchy melodies, and lyrical repose, begging to be heard by the underdog it was so intently written for. Listening to this you won’t feel the weight that comes stock with the arduous realities of everyday life, because this EP is designed for escape. Strong Enough To Last reminds us the heart outweighs hurt, an obvious ode to the perseverance of the human spirt.
- Strong Enough To Last
- Open The Stars
- As Long As I Can
- When You Close Your Eyes
- Darkest Before Dawn