The Wilderness’ new EP reflects on past hardships

Seminary Road proves band’s talent and growing voice

The Wilderness playing at The Brooklyn.

For the past three months, the only sounds coming from The Brooklyn on a Friday night were The Wilderness and their rowdy crowd.

On Friday, Nov. 16th, following their months-long residency, the only difference was the release of their new EP, Seminary Road. 

At the release party, The Brooklyn was packed.

However, the band’s hyped-up performance style is no indication of the grim inspiration behind the album.  

Each song on their new EP is biographical from the time frontman Jonas Lewis-Anthony lived on Seminary Road in Virginia. 

When his dad’s new job at Virginia Theological Seminary led him to relocate to Virginia from his home in England, Lewis-Anthony was optimistic. 

Once he got there, it all changed for the worse. 

One song on the album, “American Rage,” delves deeper into Lewis-Anthony’s feelings towards the Seminary. 

“It’ a song about my falling out with the church as an institution and how much I’ve grown to hate it,” Lewis-Anthony told The Journal

Other songs on the album are more reflective, exploring how he feels as an adult, compared to how he felt at the time.  

In “Older Now,” Lewis-Anthony sings, “When I was young you were invincible to me / Now I can’t look you in the eyes when we speak.” 

Singing about his relationship with his dad, he muses on the way relationships between parents and children change through trying times. 

When they perform live, this lyrical reflection becomes more expansive, with sweeping choruses to carry the confessional lyrics. With their spur of the moment humour and energy, the band’s shows contrast and compliment their lyrics. 

Whether they’re shoving each other on stage, or challenging drummer Liam Neale to do solos on beer kegs in the middle of the audience, the show is fresh and unexpected each week during their Brooklyn residency.

“The first time that happened we just got to a break down section and Jonas turned to me and said, ‘You’re soloing now,’ and I started soloing,” Neale told The Journal. “Then he started putting objects in front of me, then I was slapping him in the chest, then suddenly there was a keg in front of me.” 

“That was a great idea at first, but not only can no one hear it, it hurt like hell,”  Lewis-Anthony added. 

When on stage, all six members of The Wilderness shine through and highlight their parts on the new record.  

Nick Lennox’s saxophone licks weave through their song, “Motown,” soloing in the transitions. 

Meanwhile, in “Dancing in the Dive Bars,” Sacha Leah’s lead guitarwork introduces the synth-pop song’s radio-ready chorus.  

Henry Lawrence’s hard drum beats and smooth falsetto, and Karl Tombak’s unfaltering bass riffs, carry the tune’s momentum. 

They’ve come far and this album is proof of their progress. 

Lawrence spoke for the band, saying that all they want is for people to hear that they’re the real deal. 

“What do we want out of this album? Respect.” 

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