Wilkins – No Expiry Date (CD)

Wilkins – consisting of Mark Wilkins (bass, guitars, and vocals), Julian Wilkins (piano/synths), and Jan Wilkins (acoustic guitars, vocals) – are a family that has been creating music together since 2000. “No Expiry Date” is an album that shows that, even with Julian’s hiatus from the act, that Wilkins is a musical tour de force in the folk music sphere. “Easy” is the first track on “No Expiry Date”, and it immediately hits listeners with a ropy bass line, driving drums and synthesizers that fit in well with the bass focus. The Wilkins do a great job during this introductory track in creating a musical style that speaks equally well to the eighties, nineties, and oughts. The biggest contribution that the Wilkins give to music as a whole is the uniting of electronic-heavy music with the traditionally “unplugged” folk style.

While some listeners may come in to “No Expiry Date” thinking that the styles are mutually exclusive, the Wilkins will undoubtedly make believers out of them. “.79” breaks down thoughts about what is proper in terms of tempo and time signatures in the creation of a piano-heavy track. “Love Is Gone” marks another different approach taken by Wilkins, where a somewhat Latin style to the guitars open up to Jan’s vocals following a more traditional, Alison Krauss meets Stevie Nicks style. “Couldn’t Do Better” is an epic track in the sense that the guitars and vocals unite to make a memorable track in the vein of “Let It Be”, albeit with a more sedate, “natural” sound present.

“No Expiry Date” is a title that fits well for this collection of tracks, because what the Wilkins do here is mesh together different approaches, influences, and styles into something unique that will stand the test of time – regardless of how far listeners are away in terms of years from when this album was released, the songs will still sound as fresh as possible. The disc finishes as strongly as it opened: tracks like “Whatever You Want” and “Song of Hope” challenge even “Easy” in terms of quality and uniqueness. “Song of Hope” may start slowly, but the arrangements intertwine themselves with the vocals to create a track that would as easily fit on classic rock stations as they would on a NPR or collect radio affiliate. Wilkins, likely owing to the close bond of family, have made an album in “No Expiry Date” that is truly special. If you want to hear different interpretations of what limits music can have, buy this album.

Top Tracks: Apologies Unspoken, Whatever You Want

Rating: 7.4/10

Wilkins – No Expiry Date / 2008 Self / 13 Tracks / http://www.thewilkins.ca / http://www.myspace.com/musicwilkins

Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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