Album Review: Lone Wolf // REID

Credit: Rebecca Rose Harris

After almost a year’s journey of crowdfunding, recording and producing an album, Sophie Reid – going under the stage name REID – has finally released her long-awaited debut record, Lone Wolf. REID first announced the crowdfunding efforts of Lone Wolf in September last year. This was perfectly befitting the fact she had just finished her run as Lureen Newsome in the West End stage production of Brokeback Mountain, starring Lucas Hedges and Mike Faist. Especially considering the sound and vibe she was going for with the imagery of campfire music. Many of the songs in this album would fit perfectly into the stage play itself. Beyond its melodic likeness to the Brokeback Mountain sound, REID’s Lone Wolf is a haunting experience. It’s one that takes listeners on a deep and sentimental journey.

REID opens with ‘Sinaloa’, an ode to the character she plays in the film Barracuda. It’s a story of two sisters and a musical legacy. The track itself is an instrumental marvel, focusing on the alluring strums of the guitar. But when she finally graces the listener with her voice, she uses the rhythm of spoken poetry, perfectly setting the scene for the rest of the playlist: into the wild and the woods, isolated and quiet. Beyond being an actor and musician, REID is also known for her spoken poetry. In this introduction, she presents how her other forms of artistry in films and poems bleed into her songwriting. As an introductory song, it’s an enchanting way to get to know REID. Not just as the musician but as the artist that she is in all forms of her creative work.

Following shortly after is the title track of the album. In our interview with REID, she underlines this album as, “When you need to seek refuge in the wayward part of yourself, you can go here.” It’s the unity in the feeling of loneliness. This sentiment is strong in this follow-up which begins with her dictating all the ways someone can be uplifted by other people. Yet still, she reminds listeners that a person’s worth is for them to decide and not anybody else. The powerful current of her vocal performance is very reminiscent of Shakira but with a folksy edge. Her voice cracks in all the right places, adding texture to her lyrical delivery and further emphasising the deep connection she has to the words she’s singing: “Can’t leave if you’ve been left.”

One other feature within the record is REID’s tendency to leave in behind-the-scene recording conversations. This technique gives an air of authenticity and vulnerability. These are evident in tracks like ‘Arizona Sunset’, ‘You Can’t Eat Coins’ and ‘Rose of Pennies’. This same method is also used by artists such as Beabadobee and her debut album Fake it Flowers, and most recently, Olivia Rodrigo’s extension of her sophomore album, GUTS (Spilled). With REID, it’s just another form of storytelling. Through this, she’s able to articulate her thought process behind specific songs. It also allows her to introduce her tracks in a way that feels very present, as if the listener is there with her, watching her physically perform and set up the songs. It’s all part of this idea of bringing people together into this recurring theme of a campfire.

This quiet imagery of the campfire is most evident in tracks like ‘Call to Shore’ and ‘Real Fire’. Slow and attentive, there’s a very welcoming air to the melody of both these songs. It’s as if REID is extending her hand out for the listener to join her on this journey. This is a very full circle moment when thinking about how her album came to be: with the help of friends, fans and family crowdfunding the project. The unity in making all of that happen alongside this idea of being a “lone wolf” is cathartic in itself. The former features the lyrics, “Sit with me / Crawl under my stone / I’m calling you to shore / So you can sit with your own”. This calm invitation to join in with her is a soothing lullaby. It’s one that can truly make someone feel like they belong.

‘Real Fire’, on the other hand, is a wonderful closer, starting slow and understanding. It builds up into a high crescendo with the frantic strumming of the guitar. It’s as if she’s preparing for the inevitable end of the journey, before abruptly stopping as the playlist loops back to ‘Sinaloa’. There’s a very nostalgic tint to REID’s deliberate humming within the track. It’s delicate and desperate, yet assertive. Like she’s standing against a strong tide. Still, she remains unfazed and calm, gently coaxing the listener out of their shell. Lyrically, she urges them, “We will meet where the line divides,” enforcing the idea that although this is the end of the journey, it’s not a forever goodbye.

Closing her debut album with ‘Real Fire’ truly makes the listener feel like they’re going to miss something. The characters that she sings of and the journeys travelled in every song, they become part of the listener. These songs and stories become a memorabilia they can look back on, something that will make them feel like they have been part of an experience. That’s the overall vibe of the Lone Wolf as an album. For anyone feeling alone on their journey, this is a comforting playlist that’ll take them out of the chaos of the city and their mind, and into the magic of wandering into the woods and finding home.

Words by Mae Trumata

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