Material: In this intimate Lower East Side venue, Eleanor Buckland, one third of the trio Lula Wiles, debuted her first solo effort, performing all 10 songs from her brand-new album, You Don’t Have To Know. A mix of indie, folk, rock and pop, Buckland reflects on relationship ups and downs, struggles with moving through life’s difficulties and what might await her on the other side.
The songs are thematically tied together, forming a cohesive tapestry of self-examination. In the title song, Buckland drives home the notion that sometimes you must live with uncertainty: “How are you ever going to keep your heart sober? And shake your ghosts?/ They rattle the sky/they catch in your throat/You don’t have to know.”
“How Fast, How Far?” the catchiest of the collection, has radio potential, with its hypnotic electric guitar motif, a gripping rhythmic pattern and highly singable chorus: “Hold me baby, hold me tight/I think I love you/I think I might/If I fall, I’m a shooting star/but if I fall/how fast, how far?”
Musicianship: Buckland’s voice is a blend of sweetness and energy, but it is the vulnerability that she imparts that is her greatest asset. Iredale-Gray’s compelling guitar work supports Buckland’s own playing along with Trischka on drums and Guigueno on bass, taking the music to its rightful place.
Performance: Buckland’s folksy, girlish charm, immediately resonated with audience members, from her opening bit of banter, asking listeners how they “liked her new jacket,” to just about any other topic. Iredale-Gray (the album’s producer) interjected himself into the conversation, further cementing the performer-audience relationship. Buckland stepped away from the band to perform a guitar-only version of “Wishing Is Useless,” proving that she can also shine acoustically. Though Buckland wanted to showcase all the songs on the album, adding a distinguishable cover would further align her with other artists in her genre.
Summary: Eleanor Buckland has a promising package to move forward with. She is more than able to bring you into her world of self-exploration. Throwing in one heavy-hitting cover alongside her own songs would further draw more fans of her genre. On Feb. 8, Buckland will perform as part of the WFUV “On Your Radar” series at Rockwood Music Hall hosted by John Platt. •
Rockwood Music Hall New York, NY
Players: Eleanor Buckland, vocals, guitar; Adam Iredale-Gray, electric guitar, vocals; Sean Trischka, drums, vocals; Zoe Guigueno, electric bass, vocals