“Amazing shit.” This succint compliment addressed to Dana Haynes, keyboardist for Wyatt, aptly described the band’s performance at Bowery Electric on Friday, June 22 as well as the sound of their music in general. A motley combination of powerful lyrics, harmony and a variety of instrumental styles lends a distinctive and personal quality to Wyatt’s music. Coupled with the passionate, excited stage presence of leading lady, Maddy Wyatt, this quality creates quite a live show.
When Maddy speaks on stage and busies herself with her instrument and music, it is ever apparent that she is an artist. The otherworldly vibe she gives off is suggestive that the performance of her band’s masterpieces is worth much more to her than she can express. Part of this aura comes from the vocalist’s own admission that writing serves as a form of catharsis for her. She references well-known band, Wilco, in asking, “Why write a song if it doesn’t help?”
Another notable aspect of Wyatt’s lyrics is the abundance of rich metaphors throughout Maddy’s verses. She attributes this to the age-old fear of completely opening oneself up to others.
“When I first started I was scared to actually say what I was feeling, so that was why I did and still do use metaphors,” Maddy admits. “Otherwise I tend to get completely vulnerable and kinda freaked out.” She maintains that this style of writing not only serves as a security blanket, but also as a puzzle that she enjoys putting together.
“It’s a challenge to write that way, and it also allows me some calm when I’m putting myself out there,” Maddy explains. ” I get to decide which things to really put out there and which to cloud over with imagery.”
The result of Maddy’s method of composition is that the band’s music is peppered with wonderful lyrics laden with hidden meanings and clever imagery. In one tune, she belts out, “We are swimmers; we put up a good fight.” In another she confesses that, “I fall asleep with the light on every night. I don’t forget, I just swear I’m not tired.”
It is this personal style of writing combined with a sound Maddy likes to call “confessional electrofolkpop” that lends the band its eclectic sound. Throughout the course of one show, Wyatt touches on many genres and highlights many different instruments with their collection of tracks. While one song may be soaked with drums, the following beat may lean toward the tone of an Irish traveler’s song with a hint of southern rock. Still others feature acoustic notes or spotlight a flute solo. At Bowery Electric, one of Wyatt’s final songs was more accurately described as funk. Despite the stark differences in musical persuasion, each song is well-executed and entertaining.
Though Wyatt is primarily based in New York, this summer Maddy comes to the west coast bearing a treat: solo shows! Temporarily leaving behind her bandmates, brothers Paul and Alex Wyatt, bassist Zach Lane, and Haynes, Maddy is performing all by her lonesome at L.A.’s Room 5 on July 10 and San Diego’s The Tin Can on July 16. When she returns, she and her boys plan to set about mapping a short tour along the east coast.
Extremely talented and unafraid to experiment with their music, Wyatt is an experience worth having, whether live or digitally.