Our Take: Wyvern Lingo Rise with Heat, Richness and Depth on Self-Titled Debut

Wyvern Lingo - Wyvern Lingo album art
Wyvern Lingo - Wyvern Lingo album art

Mitch's Take

Recommended If You Like: Little Green Cars, The Staves, Aquilo

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The sirens have risen from their slumber in the form of Wyvern Lingo: The Irish trio of Karen Cowley, Caoimhe Barry, and Saoirse Duane, Wyvern Lingo paint hypnotic flurries of strength and sorrow, heartbreak and redemption, awareness and social conscience on their self-titled debut album, Wyvern Lingo, out now!

I don’t need you to love me,
I can’t be broken twice

Just tell me I’m beautiful as we lie down,
that will suffice

Don’t look so guilty
as though you’ve done me wrong

I’m not your victim to be pitied
I’m not yours at all for long…
I’ll never let you hurt me, I’ll never let you in
A fool was I to indulge in some sordid dealings
I won’t let this bruise me, the choice is my own
Not to let another use me and learn to be alone
– “Used,” Wyvern Lingo
Listen: Wyvern Lingo – Wyvern Lingo

Released February 23, 2018 via Rubyworks, Wyvern Lingo distills the truly exemplary artistry that three best friends from Bray, Ireland have developed over the past five years – an artistry that is at times hard to put into words, because of its several colors and multiple hues. On the surface, Wyvern Lingo fuse various folk, R&B, hip-hop and pop elements together in various ways, focusing their music on strong, luscious melodies and powerful hooks. In premiering Wyvern Lingo’s single “Snow II” in November 2017Atwood Magazine described how the group’s “intimate songwriting and taste for deep melodies lend them a unique character that is entirely their own.”

Have to say I’m tired of reading all this tragedy
My morning feed can’t take the gravity
Oh I got into a fight, some drunken piety
This girl in Mulligan’s last night accused me of apathy
Sometimes I don’t want to hear it, hear it
How does that make me a bigot?
– “Out of My Hands,” Wyvern Lingo
Wyvern Lingo - Wyvern Lingo album art
Wyvern Lingo – Wyvern Lingo album art

At times, the trio blend lush three-part harmonies together, as is the case with album opener “Out of My Hands,” whose slow-rising energy helps introduce the band’s lyrical, instrumental and melodic prowess all at once. “I Love You Sadie” introduces a sensual sound with an edgy, darker pulse – think Side Two of Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Working with producer James Kelly (WIFE, Zola Jesus), Wyvern Lingo make the most of their talents – particularly their vocal skills – by keeping things as fresh as possible. On “Maybe It’s My Nature” and “Crawl,” three-part harmonies swell together as one in the verses, but the supporting vocalists split from the lead in the choruses, creating a bed of backing melodies instead.

It is this type of diversity – of sound; of structure; of arrangement – that keeps the entertainment coming. The raw, guitar-slung “Dark Cloud” comes at the perfect time, breaking up a string of R&B songs with stripped-down grit and harrowing honesty:

Matera is a dark cloud
And I the only one in her atmosphere
She keeps me warm, she keeps me near
In the dead of night
Matera is a dark cloud
And when it rains, I get drenched from head to toe
She doesn’t see, no she never knows
That I’m not alright
Matera is a dark cloud
And all I ever asked for was
A piece of my own space
I would always oft for the
Sun on my face
I don’t want to be a dark cloud

Saoirse Duane sings an intimate outpouring of pain and heart as she strains to be someone else’s anchoring rock, while at the same time needing a rock of her own.

wyvern lingo © Ruthless Imagery
wyvern lingo © Ruthless Imagery

The equally distinctive ballad “Used” continues along the quieter path, finding Caoimhe Barry leading the trio in a heartfelt and impassioned rejection. The weight of its lyrics are magnified as a result of a slower speed and lack of surrounding instrumentation, making the song a stirring and defining moment on the record.

Oh, with your hands you cheapened me
And I’ll never let another weaken me
But you kissed me too softly and then I felt used
You told me I was there, your call to arms your muse
Don’t act so bewitched as though you tried to stay true
Did I taunt you with my voice, was it my hair that maddened you?
Such excuses are heard only in songs
From a time before you and I
There is no great romance here, no
Just a lust you tried to glorify

Of course, this is just the halfway point on Wyvern Lingo’s majestic record – an album that is not without a good number of surprises. We previously described single “Snow II” as “jazzy, warm, and full of love and sadness,” and indeed the song’s vibing nature fits perfectly on the back half, a spine-tingling lullabye of longing and restraint.

Yet just as we’re falling into that dreamy, music-induced slumber, Wyvern Lingo breaks us out of that daze. Writhing, overdriven electric guitars add new textures in “Fear,” a dissonant and critical song: “Just a puppet dangling, your users poised as they pull on the strings, toys will be toys. I fear, fear…” Wyvern Lingo sing. It’s a pointed sociopolitical commentary, not necessarily directed at anyone in particular – meaning it really applies to all of us.

wyvern lingo © Ruthless Imagery
wyvern lingo © Ruthless Imagery

For all their dreamy darkness and slow jamz moments, Wyvern Lingo end their debut on a high note with “When I Can,” a playfully insincere apology for not calling back. One of the lightest, easy-breazing moments on the record, it’s a final invitation to stand up and groove; to clap along and feel the rhythms. Wound with a tight beat, it’s the type of ending that makes you want to start the record all over again – and you just might!

Wyvern Lingo were one of Atwood Magazine’s 2018 Artists to Watch, and they fully delivered on this debut. Taking us high, then low, and then high again, Wyvern Lingo is absolutely delightful – a spellbinding sonic journey rich with warm, dazzling harmonies and deep, moving rhythms. It’s an encapsulating debut that seems to bring out the very best of these three immensely talented musicians, and yet it’s crystal clear that they still have so much more to offer. Now that they’ve officially set sail, we cannot wait to follow Wyvern Lingo on their voyage.

Stream Wyvern Lingo’s debut album, out now, and catch them live throughout the UK and Europe this March – tour dates below!

❄ ❄ ❄ ❄

Wyvern Lingo - Wyvern Lingo album art

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📸 © Ruthless Imagery

:: Stream Wyvern Lingo ::

The Intimate Warmth of Wyvern Lingo’s Haunting & Wintry “Snow II”

:: premiere ::

:: Wyvern Lingo Tour Dates ::

1st March, McHugh’s, Belfast
2nd March, Dolan’s, Limerick
3rd March, St Luke’s Church, Cork
8th March, Mike The Pies, Listowel
9th March, Roisin Dubh, Galway
10th March, Source Arts Centre, Thurles
11th March, Spirit Store, Dundalk
14th March, Sound, Liverpool
15th March, The Mash House, Edinburgh
16th March, Stereo, Glasgow
17th March, Think Tank Underground, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne
18th March, The Castle Hotel, Manchester
20th March, Hyde Park Book Club, Leeds
21st March, Louisiana, Bristol
24th March, Prinzenbar, Hamburg
26th March, Privatclub, Berlin
27th March, Studio 672, Cologne
28th March, Upstairs at The Paradiso, Amsterdam
tix & info @ wyvernlingo.com
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