3. Small Wonder | Wendy
I’ve written about Small Wonder on numerous different occasions throughout 2014 and I still don’t feel like I’ve even begun to scratch the surface of how special this record is. It’s true to say that no other record hit me, as myself, the person not the music lover, as hard, as quickly, or as resolutely as Wendy did when I first heard it, some time around midnight on January 21st, the day after it was released quietly, without aplomb on to his Bandcamp page.
I wrote a review there and then, a gushing, rabbit-in-the-headlights reflection of its affect but it was full of gushing sentiment and little else. Close to a year later, however, and that’s all I’m really still able to do. The songs are good. Really good, in fact. They’re pretty straight forward, mostly guitar, some piano and adorning vocals but within the limbs and lungs of Henry Crawford they simply come alive. In the same way that great writers can bring to life the most inanimate of objects, these songs simply, and majestically, soar.
In that first write-up I said that I felt like these songs were written only for me. Nonsense, of course, but they’re imbued with such magic that it still feels like that. Or at least its easy to pretend that they were. There are so many parallels to my own path, to my own vexations which are still rooted in that weird, perilous adaption to adulthood, a period of time I still loathe and miss in equal measure but still occasionally yearn to be back in, so to undo all that remains done. ‘Wendy’, more than much else I’ve encountered in the time since then, confronts these desires and their associated troubles and brings a clarity to them, a dusting of magic on someone who’d forgotten they could fly.
In the raw tenderness of the lyrics that act as Wendy’s most decorative beating heart, through the slow-burning sentiment of the narrative and all it entails, it remains a beautiful and searingly evocative creation. The kind of record that justifies this odd little relationship we have with music.
“i’m a weak young thing
but it’s this song i sing
that puts the strength back in my bones
puts the feathers on your wings
and it sleeps in your soul
in your heart of gold
it pulls the hymnals out of nowhere
crushes diamonds out of coal”
[Photograph by Daniel Dorsa]