Wyvern Lingo: Awake You Lie – A beacon for all of us feeling lost at sea
Awake You Lie
It may have been largely finished by the time the pandemic rolled into town, but Wyvern Lingo’s second album comes at a fortuitous moment. Written as a way for members Karen Cowley, Saoirse Duane and Caoimhe Barry to bring comfort to each other’s lives as they navigated the self-doubt-riddled waters of their late 20s, it has instead become a totem for those feeling shipwrecked and lost at sea. Like most of the general population these days, you might say.
It’s true that Awake You Lie may have been born out of a certain anxiety relating to life choices and questioning whether you’re on the right path, but many of these songs are – once you listen hard and long enough – relatable in other ways.
Both Rapture and There’s a Place offer flickering lights of hope in the darkness, written about a long-distance relationship that defies the odds despite the airmiles. Full Height is packed with tenacity and mettle, a reminder to view yourself through another person’s eyes during your lowest ebb. But confusion and sadness abound as well: the dark, sloping bassline of Sydney is an apt soundtrack for the song’s disoriented lyrics.
Wyvern Lingo showed what they were made of three years ago with their self-titled debut, which dispelled the notion that they were just another band who could harmonise over winsome folk melodies. Instead, the Bray trio plunged deeper into the soul and classic R&B sounds that had shaped their teenage years, to forge an underappreciated album that caught many by surprise.
Wyvern Lingo - Rapture (Official Video)
This time around, it sounds like they’re simply making the music they want to make. That means venturing further down the rabbit hole of experimental soul-pop and r’n’b, maintaining those glorious three-part harmonies on most songs as they swap vocals and tinker with their sound.
Aurora is a standout, loaded with quirky rhythms and enterprising nu-soul intonations. Don’t Say It is a joyful, groove-laden pop explosion, There’s a Place treads a schmoozy, sultry, slinky live R&B band line, and nine-minute-long closer In Colour, On the Mend speaks volumes for the band’s ambition – moving from a woozy soul melody to a pared-back, gospel- influenced pop song.
It begs the question: if Wyvern Lingo were an LA band with a cool backstory instead of a trio of music-making friends from Co Wicklow, would they be international stars by now?
There’s the sense that their opus is yet to arrive, but Awake You Lie is a demanding record that gets more colourful and satisfying with everyspin.