We’re glad to announce that London, United Kingdom-based indie/alt-folk artist WOL has released a new single, entitled “Friend That Never Was.”
Mixed by Tony Burrata of Catherine Songs, and mastered by Cicely Balston of Air Studios Lyndhurst, “Friend That Never Was” finds WOL dealing with themes of bittersweet nostalgia, loss, and of relationships that could have been in another life. It is a folk-tinged, contemplative journey down a daydream rabbit hole.
Describing the inspiration behind “Friend That Never Was,” WOL says:
“The track was written very quickly after a fleeting encounter with a person who somehow felt strongly like a kindred spirit from another life. We never met again – and never will – but it made me think of all the people out there that might have been friends or lovers, or just of a like-mind, but who you’ll never encounter. Ships that pass in the night and all that stuff.
So the song is both a direct tribute to that person, and also a musing on the larger topic.
I try to write songs that anyone can draw their own meanings from also – so if someone takes something different from the song & words, then that’s all good too!!”
The song was written and recorded in bedrooms over the isolated summer and winter of 2020. With regular collaborator Tom Baird’s lovingly recorded drums added to a melting pot of synths, low-tuned guitars and field recordings, the instrumental creates a rich soundscape for the soft, understated vocals to float upon. For first-time listeners, WOL says, “As for what to expect – expect some darkness with little peaks of light, contrasts, songs that build and go on journeys, metaphors. Often there’s multiple meanings & themes buried in my tracks/lyrics. And expect more tunes at some point, cos I’m still just getting started!”
“Friend That Never Was” signifies a maturing of WOL’s output, following his debut EP in 2020. The single also marks the first collaboration between WOL and the artist Pol Peiró. Photographed by Laura Llobet, Pol describes his process:
“I ended up creating a small series of works based on the theme! The piece was made with a mixed technique, mainly acrylic, oil, and other inks. I tried to generate a quite subtle atmosphere, with a sober aspect … with dark and elegant tones but at the same time with a lot of light. There is a bit of red too, simulating a wound that heals in time and gracefully.”
“Friend That Never Was” begins with subdued, creative rhythms and a nostalgic acoustic guitar melody, bringing about a mood that is at once wistful and contemplative. The laidback vocals soon join in, their thoughtful lyrics complementing the guitar nicely, while the drums later take the track into a pleasantly unhurried shuffle. Field recordings and washes of synths float into and out of the track, blending quite well with the guitar and vocals, and adding further depth to its dreamlike atmosphere. As “Friend That Never Was” progresses, the track gradually builds and evolves, capturing a lush reverie that engages the listener from beginning to end.
“Friend That Never Was” is quite an enjoyable listen, reflecting WOL’s inspired songwriting and excellent musicianship; I would highly recommend this track to fans of indie folk and alt-folk alike.
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