While Wes’s vocals are great and have a very enjoyable 80s new wave vibe, it’s the instrumental opening track to Open Dream, his latest album, that has set my perfect vibe for this upcoming weekend. The 95 second track titled “Sky” has been on repeat for the last 30 minutes of my day, why I have been unwinding from a long work week and setting a course for a the more relaxing vibes of a weekend mindset. Tough to describe, the track somewhere has the fresh islandy vibes of a beach bum song while blending in alternative rock, ambient, and electro pop elements. It begs the simultaneous questions of the listener: “Do you like piña coladas?” and “Are you into the Depeche Mode?” At only a shade over a minute and a half, it somehow blends such a variety of interesting sounds and influences that it has become an addiction unto itself… for me at least.
The opening track of Open Dream was written during the COVID pandemic, as was the rest of the album. Like many other artists coping with this dreadful period, Wes used his time in lockdown to express his feelings through his art. Touring, local shows, and all forms of live music were shut down around the globe, so it was an era where McClintock – like all of us – has to adapt or fade away. He moved out of the big city and focused himself into building an album that blended funk, new wave, alternative, indie, and even classic rock influences into something new and unique. Like other artists with a sense of their roots and inspirations, there’s a familiarity and comfort to his formula. However, unlike many artists, the finished product is not a facsimile or carbon copy of the music that inspired them. Open Dream has its own sound.
The album’s other 11 tracks are equally stellar, even if it’s “Sky” that most tickles my particular fancy at this time. The other bookend, the closing track “Sand”, includes a reprisal of melody of “Sky” – with a rearranged feel and deeper, bigger sound. Perhaps, my second favorite track of the album, it is also an instrumental track. And, while I prefer the whimsy of “Sky”, “Sand” demonstrates the depth of McClintock’s music talents as a musician and composer. The entire album, bookended by these great instrumental tracks, is well worth your time… but for me… this weekend is all about floating away in the “Sky”.