Undlin and Wolfe — “How Far” Review

I was thrilled to get on Bandcamp today to see that Undlin and Wolfe had just released their first full-length effort, How Far! And yes, this album deserves an exclamation point. Because it’s great.

An Alt-Folk Minnesota Band

Undlin and Wolfe are Siri Undlin and Dexter Wolfe, an alternative folk due with explicitly Midwest sensibilities and a gift for musical restraint. Undlin’s got a voice that’s as sweet and silvery as any I’ve ever heard, and Wolfe provides a pleasantly understated vocal counterpoint. Their music sounds like the best of early 70’s folk, with a distinctly modern edge of millennial angst.

How Far is the best thing I’ve heard from this Minnesota band…so far. A collection of musings about the liminal times before and after love, it’s a cohesive album in which most songs are strong enough to stand on their own. Every song here is wistful in one way or another, but none of them sound the same. Undlin yelps like a lonely wolf pup on Reykjavik, backed by some subtle strings. Time is On My Mind lilts along like a quieter cover of some folk ballad you’d see performed on the Andy Griffith Show. With a little more twang and little less sophistication, Heart of the Woods could be right at home on a Kacey Musgraves album.

You hear some killer lines on the album, “stood at the edge of the Great North Lake/knew in my toes that I came too late” being one of them. The Midwest is a palpable presence in every song. If you’ve lived here a while, you’ll recognize the lyrics’ references with quiet satisfaction, that sense of “yeah, I’ve felt that feeling too.”

It’s an album you’ll want to listen to for days at a time. And it’s the sort of album that you’ll be ABLE to listen to for days at a time. Want more good listening? Check out some live performances on their website. Uldine and Wolfe are performing all around Minnesota and Wisconsin this fall, so check their Facebook page for info on upcoming shows.

Album rating: 8 out of 10

How to Listen: At home, during the first smattering of fall snow, while staring out the window and daydreaming.

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