Album Review: Wayfarer by Nell Bryden

Nell Bryden Wayfarer Album Cover

Catchy, light and seductively upbeat, Nell Bryden’s new album looks set to be the smooth soundtrack of the summer

Following the success of her second studio album Shake The Tree, Nell Bryden looks set to dominate UK airwaves with the release of her new album Wayfarer.

For those who don’t recognise know, Nell Bryden is an American singer-songwriter who shot to fame in the UK following the release of her first album What Does It Take in 2009. Her strong, souring vocals have often been compared to Annie Lennox and Dusty Springfield. And if you haven’t seen her at one of the 1,400 shows she’s performed at over the past seven years, (including V Festival, Bluesfest and BBC Proms In The Park), you may recognise her last single All You Had as it was her most successful single ever at radio.

This album is a breakthrough for me, a total departure. It’s so up tempo, and my life is up tempo right now. I feel very, very happy.

Nell Bryden

Wayfarer is Bryden’s third album and follows What Does It Take (2009) and Shake The Tree (2012). Produced by Dario Darnell and Lorne Ashley Brigham Bowes (AKA Bicker Bros), the new album is an exuberant mix of rhythmic and electronic pop and marks a change stylistically for Bryden whose usual slow and soulful numbers have helped to make her a favourite on BBC Radio 2.

The 13 track album kicks off with Wayfarer, a euphoric and light-hearted pop classic which tells the tale of a footloose wanderer who’s finally home to roost.

Camouflage follows with Bryden’s strong and sharp vocals making this catchy, up-tempo number one of the best tracks on the album.

Fans of Nell’s smooth and charming Americana-influenced style, should check out Compass, an upbeat love song about finding your way home, All You Had, the debut single from the album and Westbourne Park, a catchy number about the bluebird of happiness and love which, if you’re lucky, will stretch its wings in your heart.

The real gem is Soundtrack, a seductively dancey tune with a Bo Diddley beat that you can’t get out of your head and a stunning vocal performance that sounds eerily like Annie Lennox. Expect this aptly named track to be Smooth Radio’s soundtrack of the summer.

A few songs felt out of place however, particularly Shadows in the Sun, a speeded-up psychedelic number which sounded odd amongst classic pop tracks and High Rise, a beautiful song spoilt by the frantic, imposing beat. Check out the acoustic versions to truly appreciate Bryden’s lyrical genius.

Wayfarer finishes with Edge of the World, a laid-back tune with subtle electronic beats and live instruments.

The new album has been well received in the press with BBC Radio 2 naming Wayfarer its ‘Album of the Week’.

If you’re looking for a laid-back album about sanctuary and loss, triumph and celebration, beauty and love, then Wayfarer is the album for you. Don’t forget to check out the special edition acoustic CD which is well worth the extra money.

Wayfarer by Nell Bryden is released on 28 July 2014 through 157 Records NYC.

4 out of 5 stars


Fancy getting your hands on Nell Bryden’s new album? Head over to @FranklyMyDearUK‘s Twitter account to enter our latest competition. Entries close on Wednesday 6th August at midnight GMT. Terms & Conditions apply. Good luck!