There’s nothing but strong vocalists in Ava Wild’s list of influences—a sure sign of where her focus lies on her debut EP, BARE. Joined by nothing more than a guitar, Wild’s all voice on her first eight tracks, channeling a force.
The Saskatchewan songstress is only in her late teens, but already set to start making her mark on the world. With bold openness and honesty, her first release lives up to its name and her claim to a welcoming energy.
But she comes with an edge too, as opener “White Toothed Bastard” confesses to singing before an absent crowd with carefree matter-of-factness, the sparseness driving the focus to her words.
There’s a sultry jazz touch to forward-looking “King Of My Heart,” which stands out for the range Wild shows as she plays into her medieval visuals, her voice dipping and roaring as it shows off its potential. Then she ditches her trademark red shoes for “Barefoot,” a springing number that adds a feisty bit of percussion to the album, giving her a chance to play around with tempo even more.
“To Change This World” gets a jump on “Melancholy Blues,” Wild’s mournful voice brimming with the first discoveries of helplessness but heartened by youthful optimism. It’s a theme carried over as she sings, “This is a song for the broken hearted, sad, sick and lonely/ This is a song for those who are lost, mad, desperate and angry” before entreating her listeners to better choices.
But conciliation is far from her mind in “Queen” as she barrels forward at full speed. The heroic visuals from “King Of My Heart” are back as Wild once again envisions a future where she is king, queen, and clearly in charge. Tenderness and acceptance are back for “Every Heart” before “To The Moon And Back” wraps it all up with a soaring love song.
In her debut, Wild is youthful hope—it’s in her lyrics and the purity of her sound, but most noticeably it’s in the possibilities that she has yet to discover.
Top Track: “Barefoot”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)