“Icarus Rising” by new indie folk duo Wild Whispers is the first of a trio of singles based on the Greek myth of Icarus’s flight to the sun. The song itself is as unique and intriguing as the storyline of its concept.
The song starts out with a low drone sound, followed by one lone piano chord, which then introduces some acoustic noodling and sweeping vocal melodies. It all builds up to a sonic payoff that’s released with the first sound of a drum. Later, the tempo picks up with intense acoustic strumming, a freshly introduced string section, and echoing melodies, further building tension and excitement as it progresses. Ethereal, soaring harmonies are a strong motif throughout the song, truly capturing the image of a swift ascent to the sun.
What makes this song so interesting is that its structure defies the verse/chorus/bridge/chorus succession we’re used to. Instead, it progresses like a story- beginning, middle, and end, each marked with its own unique styling. This approach is reminiscent of the sonically distinctive indie folk band The Oh Hellos, who have also given well-known stories a new musical life. “Icarus Rising” is the beginning chapter of Icarus’s story, so its ending is conclusive and satisfactory to the song, but with a special twist- the major chord it leaves you on feels like the end of a musical’s opening number- you have just been introduced to the story and its characters on the surface, but it’s time to dive deeper. You’re left wanting more, and until Wild Whispers releases more installments of the trilogy, listening to this song on repeat will have to do.
Eli Lev and Megan Leigh are the storytelling masterminds being Wild Whispers. This project came about after solo creative endeavors and a national tour, and they’re set to release more of the trilogy in the coming year. Their goal is to take everything you know about acoustic pop and folk and flip it on its head- from their lyrical storytelling, to their empyrean harmonies, to their arrangements that challenge the status quo of indie folk.
Written by Jess Ward