“Restless Minds” features many fun and catchy tunes, however there are a few forgettable tracks and some of the messages seem forced.
Consisting of 24 year old twin sisters, Catherine and Lizzy, British country duo Ward Thomas have recently exploded into the limelight (especially in the UK). Their third studio album “Restless Minds” is a progression of the band’s genre-crossing adventures, with their most recent release, exploring the basics of pop music. With “Restless Minds,” Ward Thomas have released a fifteen track album, with lyrical content that explores the use of the internet and social media in the modern day, with people trying to match everybody else’s perfect, yet fictional lives.
Those points are where my issues lie with the record. I feel that fifteen tracks is a bit too much for an LP that doesn’t have that much to say, and that while the lyrics definitely aren’t at all bad, the themes and “anti-social media” preaching, comes across slightly forced in certain areas. Despite the fifteen song track-list, the album is only 47 minutes long as the songs tend to be pretty short and snappy. This is definitely a good thing, as the record could certainly have dragged if the songs were longer. But the downside is when making use of that many short, poppy tracks, some of the songs sound the same and in turn end up being forgettable.
With the negatives out of the way, it feels good to progress onto a positive note. The record’s opening track “No Filter” is probably one of my favourite tracks from the album, and features a very smooth and glossy hook that will stick with you for sure. I think it really benefits from being an early track, which sets up the tone for the record. The song introduces the themes that the album will be exploring, the pop-country crossover sound and the duo’s masterful harmonies. The following track and lead single “Lie Like Me” is a great song in it’s melody and structure, however goes a bit too far down the pop route to be taken too seriously and is an example of when the message becomes too over the top. The lyrics “I don’t even wanna buy what I’m selling. What am I selling, what am I, what am I?” felt very forced and unnatural to me, despite liking the song musically.
When “Restless Minds” truly stands on it’s own two feet, is during the record’s more country sounding, ballad styled songs. The band’s harmonies work wonders and the songwriting of these tracks in particular, truly shine a light on the twins’ talent for writing intelligent songs, and engaging hooks. A personal favourite of mine, “Changing” is most certainly a highlight on the album, with the verses not sounding too different from a slower Ed Sheeran track, but when the chorus kicks in, the powerful voices and breathtaking harmonies of the duo, truly set them apart from everybody else. Themes of anxiety are referenced on the song “It’s Not Just Me”. The juxtaposition of the track’s deep lyrics, depicting the feeling of not being good enough for people, and the toe-tapping beat combined with catchy, melodic vocals, really make for an interesting and engaging listen.
Overall, I’d say that “Restless Minds” is definitely going to appeal to fans of the band’s previous two releases, and is experimental enough to warrant giving it a listen. There are definitely some great songs here, with great instrumentation, however I personally feel that the production is a bit too poppy for a band like Ward Thomas to pull off effectively. With that being said, some of the tracks do seamlessly blend the country-pop genres in the way that other artists like The Shires, Lady Antebellum and Taylor Swift have done so well in the past. Whilst undoubtedly not a perfect album, “Restless Minds” is an interesting look into the thought process of Ward Thomas as a duo attempting to cross genres, and is catchy enough to keep the listener engaged throughout.