If you’re a fan of The Beatles, The New Pornographers, Spoon, or any alt-rock and psychedelic band from the past, you’ll enjoy the frantic, histrionic sounds of ‘Wonder Lust,’ the latest album from independent rock band New Sincerity Works.
Formed in Cincinnati, Ohio in summer 2014, the band features founder Mike Tittel as lead singer, guitarist and drummer, Lauren Bray as keyboardist, and Bob Nyswonger as bassist. Mike included “New Sincerity” in the name because it implies a post-modern resistance against cynicism and skepticism. He sees the greatest songs as being universal and descriptive of genuine emotion.
‘Wonder Lust’ lives up to this perfectly. It’s a collection of 10 powerful songs exploring all facets of love, luster, lore and heartbreak, drawn from Mike’s personal experiences with someone he thought was his soulmate, but who didn’t return his feelings.
These themes are portrayed beautifully through soulful lyrics sung harmoniously, with acoustics, bass and keyboards signifying a sombre mood. Mike wrote the music to accompany a book of photographs taken of himself and a former partner, and, although it wasn’t formally published, he did a fantastic job at transcribing his memories into lyrics.
Tracks such as ‘I’ve Got You’ and ‘Just Like Vapor’ are immaculately written, blending the soothing melodies of indie rock, power pop and psychedelia to describe how it feels to fall in and out of love. At this point, Mike’s sings in a higher register to show he’s contented.
As the album progresses, however, the tone shifts from naive happiness to disappointment. This chapter of the story begins with “Without Us,” in which intense bass rhythms are replaced with a faint keyboard in the background. It’s played very softly, evoking a sense of sadness and gradual loss of hope.
The bass returns in “To Be Kissed Like That” and “Hearts Transplanted,” bringing the entire album full circle. Every key instrument – keyboards, drums, and pedal steel and bass guitars – creates a strong grand finale, conjuring feelings of determination for a brighter future. The lead singer realizes his love is one-sided, so he decides to move on.
‘Wonder Lust’ is the best release from New Sincerity Works. It’s a musical therapy session in itself, recommended for anyone mending a broken heart. It’s out now via Butter Records.