Album: Beware Wolves Volume 6 by Beware Wolves

Artwork by Beware Wolves

There is no shame in taking one misstep during the whole road.

Beware Wolves is the name of a mysterious, nameless Bostonian troubadour, whose adventures with his acoustic guitar have managed to bring into reality 9 albums and 81 songs of varying shapes, colors, and forms, along with his occasional, tasty vocal and guitar overdubs, creating a whole universe of sound that, 6 albums in, have become familiar, identifiable, yet not at all predictable.

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After a pacing issue that persisted over the 5th volume of songs from Beware Wolves, caused by their choice to order the songs in the albums alphabetically, I was anticipating giving the 6th one a listen, to see if the misstep got corrected, or if a domino effect has come into effect, affecting the remaining half of the experience. So, let’s find out.

The waning Gibbous on the album cover announces the start of the second half of this massive collection, symbolizing each album with a phase from the moon’s 8 phases, other than the blood moon on the 9th album cover. The 6th volume happened to be, in fact, my favorite volume so far. One of the longest too. No more issues with the pace, with songwriting that’s as solid and as intricate and as heartfelt as ever, this album, I’m pleased to say, wholly corrects the trajectory. With nuanced lyrics, rich musical ideas, and impressive, colorful singing styles that break the boundaries that have been set up till this point, this album exceeded my expectations. The starter, New World, likens the artist’s new relationship to the exhilarating joy of exploring a newly discovered world. Lush similes, and a warmly strummed acoustic riff that’s sweet and comforting revolve around the charismatic vocal harmonies to create this mildly energetic opener. Not That Strong has a characterful, poppy sound, courtesy of a familiar sounding chord progression. The swooning vocal performance that masterfully wrap around the gentle harmonies make this one on the more unique listens from Beware Wolves, whose booming voice has rarely been this gentle and accommodating up till this point.

Dominant chords and reassuring lyricisms make a home for themselves in Note to Self. A deeply reaffirming, literal note to self that sees the artist reminding themselves that they’re not trying to lecture or to judge and that they are loved by many, and that eventually things are bound to end up just fine, by giving things the patience and time they need. Only One has a stunning vocal arrangement with a wooing melody that’s as rare as it is fitting to the sound. With characterful, commanding progressions, that make use of colorful chord inversions, Only One is one of the more enjoyable and stand-out songs on the album. The manic, hyped-up acoustic performance of Phenom-Anom and the cowboy-ish vocals of Rabbit Run precede the gentle singer-songwriter charm of Radio. A song that talks about handling one’s failure to achieve the unfair goals they set for themselves, and that, reassuringly, we were not born to shine. The rhythmic Rather Be Fishing is a clear stand-out. With gorgeous, witty lyrics, a thumping, steady rhythm, a warm production, and one of the most characterful choruses throughout the artist’s discography, this is one song that deserves a spot if there ever was a Beware Wolves greatest hits album.

Not only has the 6th volume corrected the mistake of the preceding one, it also proved that that mistake was not one caused by any faltering in quality, musicianship, or taste. Beware Wolves music still boasts an impressive consistency that points toward a highly dedicated and focused mind. A thoroughly rich and enjoyable listen, from beginning to end.