- Bryon Harris
Laini and the Wildfire
Based out of New Haven, CT, Laini and the Wildfire are a pop-rock band with a great bluesy feel. Laini and the Wildfire can be placed alongside artists like Lake Street Dive and draw influences from many artists such as Hozier, Fiona Apple, and Ray Charles. Their debut 5-track self-titled EP is a collection of songs that offer inner reflection about the desire to take risks and follow your passion and dreams. The EP's message is delivered with top-notch songwriting, vocals and musicianship; it is impressive and refreshing.
“Higher” starts the EP off with great energy, beginning with quick repetitive piano chords, complimented with small bass and guitar riffs and a steady back-beat. The intro leads us into the first verse starting with, “Wasting time like I’m so damn wasted,” introducing us to the stunning vocals of Laini. Immediately apparent is the high quality production and mix. "Higher" demonstrates the group’s ability to write sophisticated and memorable songs. Check out the video of "Higher" directed by John Tashiro to hear my enthusiasm for the band.
Next up on the album is the blues ballad “Rhapsody.” This song jumps right into action, immediately putting us into the first verse with the words, “Always I had to fight.” From the moment Laini enters, you hear sweet emotion. A good bridge connects the themes, repeating the phrase "You're gonna get what you deserve" several times; listening to Rhapsody, it is clear that what Laini and the Wildfire deserve is outstanding recognition for for their sweet rhapsodies. Following “Rhapsody” is the song titled “Newport.” “Newport” beings with just guitar and vocals, showcasing Laini's raw talent and confident tone. This song is one of the more unique tracks off the EP, boasting a more alternative style. “Newport” provides a nice change in vibe and is a great transition to their next track “To Have A Home.”
"To Have A Home" is another bluesy ballad and my favorite track on the EP. It boasts nice piano work, some vocal harmonies, tasteful guitar leads, catchy melodies and lyrics. "You think you love me by you don't. If you really loved me I would no. There's be no doubt, no question about your attention, no empathy shell of a person. If you really loved me I would know. I would know." Laini simply shines on this radio-ready, hit track that tells a honest, heart-felt story. The EP ends with the song “Reckless” which will have listeners wanting more. With a slower and more somber mood, this song yields a softer quality in the vocals and this softness is powerful, showing that Laini and the Wildfire are capable of delivering great music, both up-tempo good vibe tunes and slower emotional ballads.
With their self-titled debut EP, Laini and the Wildfire achieved their goal. This is no cookie-cutter EP; it took risk and passion and the results are a truly artistic, original and soulful EP. Looking to the future, the band plans to release a full length album in May 2017 along with plans to tour the east coast tour. For more information on the band or to purchase their music, visit their website.