Wesley Wolfe's Cynics Need Love Too | Record Review | Indy Week
Pin It

Wesley Wolfe's Cynics Need Love Too 

(Odessa Records)

There's nothing very complicated about "Restless Sleeper," the seventh song on Cynics Need Love Too, the second album in as many years by Carrboro songwriter Wesley Wolfe. For more than three minutes, Wolfe alternates between two interconnected refrains about his shortcomings as a lover. "I have news that's gonna let you down" he sings, his deadpan buoyed by a bouncing drumbeat and whimsical electronics. "But it'll be OK." Though this mantra forms half of the song, it's technically the pre-chorus, meaning it's structurally what introduces the song's actual chorus and, as it turns out, its admission: "I'm not as good as you think I am/ I am nowhere close to that," he sings in front of a toy piano and chugging bass, sounding almost gleeful to tell the truth.

Wolfe writes songs about getting better at being human, and he mostly populates them with all the worst sides of himself. During "Tear Me Down," he's a self-aware quitter without gumption and conviction; for "Mine to Design," he plays the part of a self-reliant misanthrope, convinced that we're not capable of depending on each other to bolster our own obvious faults. The blustery but ashamed "Someone Somewhere" centers around the realization that most of his problems are those of the first-world variety, that he, the privileged artist, can't imagine the difficulties that the dead, the poor and the dejected face. It's a young punk's credo resurfaced with a sense of refined pop. "Stranded With You" not only frowns at a similar selfishness but casts a crooked eye on dreams and how they can leave us holding nothing more than their memory and self-pity.

For the final minute, though, Wolfe allows one of the album's few indulgences—an unrestrained, howling guitar solo that feels like catharsis, as though he's realized at once that all this dour contemplation is what, as he writes during "Restless Sleeper," becomes the "dead weight that holds you back." And that seems to be the redeeming lesson at the center of Wolfe's remarkably cohesive catalog: In two years, he's grown from a songwriter who doubted he was any good to a self-sufficient writer, singer, arranger, producer and manufacturer who, most important, has proven that even the worst impulses can be broadcast and beaten.


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Record Review

Twitter Activity

Most Recent Comments

Love it! All the songs are beautiful!

by Jon Champion on Record Review: The Return of The Veldt, The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur: The Drake Equation, Is Great (Record Review)

This release will be available Friday December 4th here:


Thanks! …

by Scott Phillips on Review: The electronic excellence of GNØER's Tethers Down (Record Review)

You should have let Currin write this. One of the best singers on earth and these were your observations? sounds …

by Remo on Record review: Jeanne Jolly's A Place to Run (Record Review)


© 2017 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation