The latest self-recorded effort from Vegas wunderkind Wyatt McKenzie again demonstrates his impossibly advanced musical abilities: storytelling, composition, instrumental dexterity. In short, Cloudless is the type of low-key, whipped-up-quickly-because-he-can effort that would make many an open-mic grinder openly weep.
Augmented by such underground mainstays as Joe Kendall (Las Vegas Club*) and Chris Leland (Dreaming of Lions), along with Mother McKenzie regulars Quinn Beagle and Christopher Reitmaier, McKenzie knits together eight dusty folk tunes that sound both timeworn and next-gen. Check the way he breathes lyrical life into the old-as-the-Earth acoustic tradition: “Let’s pretend we’re nihilists/Let’s twist and sleep in tangled sheets till August, sad and jobless,” and later, “Baby, I wanted you, and you just wanted everyone.” Pretty heady stuff for a 20-year-old.
It seems decidedly uncool, then, to yearn for more—something more painstakingly constructed, more grandiosely arranged, more expertly produced. Yet, for McKenzie, Cloudless plays like it’s just scratching the surface, the start of a much longer tale. Or maybe, it’s the end of a beginning phase, and a scary reckoning with McKenzie’s full talent is almost upon us.