A new release from West End Junction brings out a very personal and warming tonality that ranges from cinematic piano focused pieces to indie folk and Americana tone approach that really bring a lot of character personality to the table with each new song.
The Out Here in the Plains album hits a ton of sweet spots, and the songs show a lot of under the skin personality and tell stories with particularly vivid detail that lets you paint pictures in your head.
Throughout the span of the record, you get a lush and beautiful variety of instrumentation from acoustic to electric with guitars that strum, organs that create atmospheres, and vocals that push the music enough to get something you can really feel out of it.
The album is immensely beautiful and has such a welcoming soundscape that feels somewhat peaceful even if all the stories aren't peaceful.
There's something about it that sort of calls to you and when you follow that call you end up engulfed in the songs and it feels good to do that.
The release goes through different sets of emotions and as it does, so you get a better and better feel for the stories and the personalities behind them which is something that's really enlightening and refreshing at the same time.
They blend Indie pop into the mix quite often and so throughout the album the songs are broken up in different styles, so you get a well-rounded and really big record out of this.
No matter what you're listening to off this record though, there's loads of heart oozing from every minute of it and you can hear a true love for their craft with these songs, so the entire thing just feels really good.
There's also something about it that feels somewhat nostalgic and it's not necessarily the lyrics all the time, it has to do with the music as well.
It's like the songs are yours in a way. Like they are all part of chapters of your own life and so you feel this sort of attachment to them.
That sort of thing is not something that you get from a record that often so to have that hit the way it does is really impressive and something that I've been looking for from a record for some time.
They're definitely some layers to be peeled back with this release and it's endlessly fun to do so as the record ends up feeling touching and real.
And I think that's the biggest thing about it is how genuine and authentic it comes through.
With the release of such a wonderfully woven record, we wanted to have a sit down with West End Junction to find out where this all actually came from and what might be coming up next for them.
Here's what happened.
Buzz Slayers: Okay, let's start with the Out Here in The Plains album! This record was gorgeous and had this theatrical undertone that made everything feel so personal! How did this album come about?
Dan: We had been writing material for years, and after releasing several singles and an EP, it was always our dream to put out a full-length album. Cara writes most of our lyrics, and she was the first one to point out there had been a common theme.
Cara: As a Midwest transplant, most of the stories I was telling lyrically had to do with living “Out Here in The Plains”. There's a song about Indiana, obviously one about Kansas, and several about St. Louis. It came together as a semi-concept album about modern life in middle America.
Buzz Slayers: How did this all start for you guys as a band?
Dan: We met in another band in 2014 and began dating in 2015. The two of us very quickly started writing our own material and playing out once we had enough to fill a set.
Buzz Slayers: What kind of things really inspire songs for you?
Cara: I always talk at live shows about how much I write songs in the car. I think this happens primarily because it's a space that lends itself to reflection and meditation. The bulk of the songs on the album were written between 2020 and 2021, and the political and social uncertainties hitting us at the time definitely inspired the majority of the lyrics.
Dan: It starts with imagery and a feeling for me, and as I start to write, that imagery will solidify.
Buzz Slayers: This album has some great styles combinations on it! Can you give us some of your biggest influences musically?
Cara: Hey, thank you! I listened to a lot of female singer-songwriters growing up; Tori Amos is a big influence.
Dan: Fleet Foxes, Radiohead, The Beatles, Sufjan Stevens, probably countless others..
Buzz Slayers: What are you doing when you're NOT working on music?
Cara: Trying to get other people to listen to our music! Haha. We are actually both big outdoors people, so we do a lot of hiking and camping locally.
Dan: I'm a computer programmer in my day job, so I am often writing code when I'm not writing music. Otherwise, definitely outside with Cara!
Buzz Slayers: Who's in your headphones right now?
Both: Fat Freddy's Drop! We discovered them on an Amazon Music playlist and have been playing all their albums since.
Buzz Slayers: Are you doing any live performances right now?
Dan: Tons. We are doing a Kansas City/Lawrence Tour in May as a trio and are really excited to play at Replay Lounge on May 12. We have a hometown show at The Focal Point right here in St. Louis on May 26 with our good friends in Goldberry.
Buzz Slayers: Did you record yourself or hit a big studio for this?
Cara: We hit a big studio--Lonnie's Farm Recording Studio in Belleville, IL. The entire album was recorded on analog tape, and the majority of it done live with a full band.
Buzz Slayers: What can your fans expect from you in the near future?
Cara: Quite a bit of new material is coming down the pipes! We have another album we are planning on recording this summer. Some of it is music you have heard us teasing live this year; our song "Today is Wednesday" will be on there.
Dan: We're also putting on a music festival if you are in the St. Louis area! That will be July 16 at the American Legion in Florissant.
Buzz Slayers: Before we go, what would you like to say to fans of the music?
Cara: You rock! It has been humbling to see so many people listening to the album, coming to our live shows, and reaching out personally to tell us how our music has touched them. It's difficult for me to express any how grateful I am.
Dan: Thank you, and I'm so glad you found something in our music that speaks to you. There is so much work that goes into bringing something from emotion to music to recording to listenership, and you all are the reason we do it.