Joined by a talented crew of fellow travellers, Luft and Edwards have turned release of The Small Glories' debut into an unexpectedly auspicious occasion, thanks to a ruggedly dynamic collection of songs gleaned from a homespun perspective. There's nothing here that attempts to pierce any parameters, and yet the band spins their material with a clear authority and weathered resilience that belies their rookie status. "1000 Stars" and "Home" have the same kind of shout-out, hyper charged refrain that The Lumineers have used to their advantage, while the wistful but resilient "Holding On" solidifies the album's indelible imprint. And regardless of whether the tunes are powered by a solitary pluck - as in the case of opener "Had I Paid" - or a pace that's more resolute - such as "Fast Turning World" - the songs offer an instant allure, giving reason to listen again and again, simply because they're well worth reliving.
In the end, "Wondrous Traveller" reflects the sum of its strengths - Luft's seasoned prowess, Edwards' obvious dexterity, and the rest of the band's ability to caress the arrangements and solidify the stance. Wondrous? Well, perhaps. Compelling? Clearly, no doubt.
Reviewed by Lee Zimmerman