Kyle and Emily Corner have made the step of transforming their life partnership as husband and wife into a musical collaboration. They have a good basis for releasing original songwriting as The Wandering Off. Many potential listeners will appreciate, going in, how the couple, especially Emily, surmounted towering obstacles to putting any music out. Emily suffered through two rounds with COVID and a laundry list of lingering side effects, so her vocals are doubly impactful.
The Corners drafted Blake Manning to help flesh out their sound for the new single “Hey There”. The drummer lays down a vigorous groove for the song that snaps like a rifle shot across listener’s consciousness. It counterbalances the essential tempered thrust of the song that comes on the back of Kyle Corner’s guitar. Emily’s singing underlines that thrust with delicate touches and a sensitive reading of the lyrics.
The vocal phrasing is a major attraction. Emily’s voice has a crystalline tone, but she hangs with every word. She glosses over nothing. Emily modulates her voice, as well, peaking with the chorus, pulling back during the verses. The Wandering Off balances the lyrical and musical material with an attentive ear. Few listeners will feel unsatisfied with the track’s trajectory. Emily Corner imbues her performance with a lot of undeniable character.
Kyle Corner’s guitar playing never goes overboard. The good taste and timing he shows throughout the single serves the song and eschews any unnecessary theatrics. It’s an important part of a larger whole, however, and there’s no question that the Corners tailor the singing and instrumental contributions to compliment one another. Production and performance aesthetic alike skillfully thread Manning’s drumming into the song’s overall fabric.
It is impossible to not consider this single as representative. The Wandering Off put their best foot forward for their upcoming self-titled debut and it’s difficult to imagine such an intelligent act veering off course with this decision. “Hey There” will exert a strong hold on the duo’s target audience without ever pandering for the listener’s attention. They are primed for success, but it will come on their terms.
You can hear their avowed influences such as Third Eye Blind and Gin Blossoms in their music. They are working in a light alt-rock vein with an emphasis on melody lacking from more raucous examples of the style. It never sounds like hollow imitation though they pay proper deference to the style. Emily Corner’s voice gives “Hey There” character it would otherwise lack.
It is the character we can expect from the debut as a whole and any future recordings from The Wandering Off. This imposing artistic duo bursts upon the scene in near full form and it’s a bit mesmerizing to wonder where they go from here. The proverbial sky’s the limit for Kyle and Emily Corner. “Hey There” gives us the first inklings of their potential and it is tantalizing, indeed. Let’s savor everything we can hear from this impressive new tandem because music such as this is increasingly rare.