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33 by Waylen Roche

Dear reader of SoundVille, I want to share with you an incredible observation. I’ve noticed that quite often when I come across light and experimental soul-pop albums, there’s a great story behind them. This is exactly the impression that the debut album "33" by Waylen Roche left on me. Originally from Florida, but creating impeccable music in NYC and the Hudson Valley, Waylen Roche uses the language of music to express his life experiences over the past five years. So, the album "33" seems to have settled in my memory for a long time. The gentle and light alt R&B tracks and electro pop sound take on a new narrative form when you hear the lyrics of the tracks.

It's like falling off a bike for the first time: joy is replaced by pain, and you immediately understand the full beauty of the upcoming life. However, you find solace in the hands of loved ones – and it’s not so scary to take a new step. Similarly, the album "33" is very candid, personal, but always warm and gentle. Unlike harsh reality, Waylen Roche offers salvation through his music. He raises questions about love and its end, about findings and losses, about all the deep feelings that replace each other in the modern digital environment, like the colors of a kaleidoscope. Can you find light in this world? My answer after listening to the album: “yes, and yes again!”. If you need an album that will make your heart flutter and your thoughts deepen, then quickly turn on the album with the mysterious title "33".

I suggest we start listening right now with the track “Granite.” Here, Waylen Roche, through vivid lyrics, complex harmonies, and an amazingly unique rhythm, hints that an equally stunning psychedelic soul show awaits us ahead. And I absolutely love it, especially the magical flute with its warm sound and the elusive moment when the processed sound flows into the live piano. The song “Jordan” plays on emotional contrasts. The gentle and stylish soul-R&B sound merges with a pop wave, accompanied by a raw, seemingly almost unprocessed vocal. It rides on an emotional wave that constantly shifts between live performance and perfect studio sound, creating a dissonance. This underscores the conceptual nature of the album and makes the sound unique. It seems to me that Waylen Roche uses a solid foundation of genres while creating a new sound by mixing the incompatible. After all, isn’t life and emotions just the same?

Playing with tonalities, instruments, and vocals, the track “Proof” achieves that hypnotic and melancholic sound that allows full concentration on Waylen Roche’s voice. The song's words penetrate the subconscious, and the almost ritualistic yet cosmic arrangement amplifies their meaning. If you close your eyes, it feels like you’re disappearing into this lush sound. I am a fan of the harmonies in this song. Flawless, damn it. The sound changes again in “Water.”By bringing percussion and a refined bass line to the forefront, the track acquires sensual and passionate soul motifs, while Waylen Roche firmly holds his ground in his own sound universe. This is an excellent song for walking, drinking, flirting, and living your best night life. I believe this is one of the strongest tracks on the release.

I'm sure you'll experience the same amazement I did with “Fingertips.” Tears welled up in my eyes, and my throat tightened at the stylish shift in Waylen Roche’s voice. It's incredible! A perfectly grooving pop track that won't leave you a second to ponder. Bright, almost funky guitars and a catchy rhythm change the album's mood and add a pinch of carefree spirit, which is picked up by “Crystalline Giant.” Just give in to the sound and let yourself be carried away by this deep pop sound and the lightest duet. I confess, even the finale surprised me. As if promising to stay true to his unique path and carry his amazing and distinctive sound to the very end, Waylen Roche concludes the album on the most touching note. In the track “Tara,” Roche's delicate acoustic performance is supported only by keys and a bright beat, offering a comforting ballad for your day. Meanwhile, the final track “For Lewis” completely transforms the sound. With its ringing beat, bright mood, and memorable lyrics, it leaves a strong impression, placing an ellipsis at the end of the release. I wish I could turn back time and hear Waylen Roche’s debut album “33” for the first time again. It was so amazing! Dear listener, you are incredibly lucky because "33" is available on all digital platforms. Be sure to give it a listen!

P.S. Hey Waylen Roche! Thank you for creating such unique, unusual, complex, and captivating music. How do you manage to maintain a balance between such intricate genres and instruments? Especially in the last track. The sound is so rich, yet it feels incredibly light. Your voice, like a unifying instrument, soars over everything, and it sounds simply divine. I absolutely love it. I'll be re-listening to your album because I'm now your fan. I'm going to show it to all my friends because my heart is leaping out of my chest – it was that amazing. Keep it up, you’re making incredible music! Yeah!

*This review was made possible by SubmitHub.


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