One of my favorite local artists over the last year has been Evan Pharmakis and his project, Wind in Sails. Pharmakis who was a founding member of the post-hardcore five piece, Vanna has been working on this new softer project since he left the band in January of 2012. Pharmakis has collected his first batch of songs and put them out on a record called, Brighter Days that was released independently through bandcamp.
Brighter Days is a real departure if you were expecting anything like Vanna. The songs are much more subdued and melancholy, but have the same type of power. The album features eight tracks starting with, “Abandon” which is a song that is mainly driven by acoustic guitars, but accentuated nicely by drums and electric guitars. “Deep Down” is the second track on the record, and this is one of my favorite tracks because of the subtle guitar and delicately voiced vocals. Pharmakis touches lyrically on a lot of things in this song mostly losing a friend and starting from scratch. “Live” is the next song on Brighter Days, and I have to say I like this song because of its very interesting verse structure that leads into a very open sounding chorus.
“Murder Backwards” is up next. What drew me to the song initially were the chords in the song. They bring about a bittersweet/melancholy feel. They also keep the song moving into the vocal in which we see Pharmakis excel. At first the vocals are one track, but eventually they split, and a sweet harmony is laid beneath the initial melody. The arrangement may be simple, but it is effective in portraying the mood of the song. The song lyrically seems to deal with moving on from the past and letting go. The song then goes on to speak about moving forward in a different direction.
“Set Adrift” is the next song on the album and features a multi-tracked strummed acoustic, a very nice layered acoustic, and a very bluesy solo played on an electric guitar. The track that is about five and a half minutes in length seems to have a somber feel and seems to reflect Evan’s inner conflict between home and his former band. “Set Adrift” is definitely another favorite off of the album, as is the next track, “Knowing.” “Knowing” is a great song with a very bluesy feel to it, and very dark lyrical content.
“Yours” is the seventh track on the album, and is a blatant love song. I liked the song, and especially what felt like natural reverb on the track. “Breathe” is the eighth and final track on the album, and I like how Pharmakis uses the lyrics of the song to tell a narrative about living a life that is worth living, and opening ones eyes to the world around them.
Brighter Days is a fantastic collection of eight tracks that are really poetry set in motion. Pharmakis does a great job of forming melodies around story lines which brings the listener in. Check this album and Wind in Sails out.