Soulful songstress Leilani Wolfgramm ignites passion, prose and purpose in her electrifying new album Live Wire, out today off Raleigh Records. Following two previous full-length LP’s I Burn (2013) and Rebel (2014), Wolfgramm’s third installment is well worth the four-year wait, and even that is an understatement. All the musical constituents that make up Live Wire is almost as many in number as the conflicting idiosyncrasies that make up Wolfgramm’s temperament; a mixture of sound to match a matrix of flaws and reflections that Wolfgramm weaves for the world at large. Holding nothing back, Wolfgramm bears it all: good, bad, ugly, drunken, dosed, dedicated, medicated, downtrodden, disturbed, desirous, desultory. Go ahead and scratch the surface – Wolfgramm isn’t afraid to bleed. Strap yourselves in for an album full of overt agony that gives rise to more than a few philosophical ponderings.
Wolfgramm sees herself a live wire – set to shock and damage all who come close enough to touch.
The album starts off with Wolfgramm’s latest single “The Trail”. Let’s stumble back to the beginning, for Wolfgramm didn’t end up here overnight. “I was born on the trail,” Wolfgramm sings, “two doors down from the devil himself.” With a bluesy vocal delivery, a kettledrum and an EDM beat, Wolfgramm explains her fall from grace in the form of a prelude. Retaining a sunny disposition through life is a little tough when you’re “born burnt”. Track two, “Sinner”, encapsulates Wolfgramm’s inner angst, bringing to the surface drug dependency, depression and desperation. Screaming lyrics like “I pour my heart straight into the liquor”, little does she know the burden of a tortured soul is better than never baring one at all. A self-described “black hole”, Wolfgramm sees herself a live wire – set to shock and damage all who come close enough to touch. Speaking of, the title track comes next: a millennial anthem on no shame, full pain and you-only-live-once. Emotionally charged, “Live Wire” jolts the listeners into self-assessment. Generations X, Y & Z spend life “scheduling treatments” by day and “chasing demons” by night; we are only hurting ourselves with this behavior, yet can’t help ourselves. What is life without pain? What does real pain feel like, anyway? Wolfgramm knows that out of darkness, there is light… whether that light is accompanied with a hangover or not. In “Heaven”, the track’s uplifting tonality balances Wolfgramm’s “I’m no good” lyrics, as she subtly prays for salvation in between reaching for the bottle. If there’s pain on earth, does that mean there is pain after death? Can turning to a higher power beat the high? Who’s to know. It seems Wolfgramm is hopeful though.
After such destructive self-assertions, the track “Without Condition” rolls around to proffer listeners a look through Wolfgramm’s rare, but relieving rose-colored glasses. A proverbial redemption song set to a housey EDM beat, Wolfgramm asks “teach me to love”, “show me the sun” – I was born this way, but I’m subject to change. “Bipolar” brings to light a hip hop style manic-depressive stream of consciousness, illuminating an adequate description of Wolfgramm’s enigmatic persona. “Another One” compares love to alcohol addiction, for in a toxic relationship, might as well drink until last call. “Warzone” is another single off the album already climbing the charts, showcasing Wolfgramm’s grit when love is a battlefield. And, on the subject of fighting, track nine “Rise” is about uniting as one to overcome all obstacles. What’s the point of hiding our skeletons and scarlet letters when we’re all avid collectors? The album concludes with “Broken Ones”, another ode to millennial mentality. In a world of doubt, “who’s going to save us”? We may be broken, but do we even want to be fixed? Or, do we want to remain miserable, for that’s all we know?
…don’t be surprised if Live Wire picks up more than a few awards.
Wolfgramm has truly outdone herself and don’t be surprised if Live Wire picks up more than a few awards. The album is now available on all digital outlets as Wolfgramm wraps up touring alongside The Green and no further spring or summer tours for the chanteuse have been announced to date. With an album as fire as this and an overly energetic live show to boot, you can bet that Leilani Wolfgramm is about to blow up like a firework, lest a live wire.
Purchase or stream Live Wire album:
- The Trail
- Live Wire
- Without Condition
- Another One
- Broken Ones
Disclaimer: All views presented in this album review are those of the reviewer and not necessarily those of Top Shelf Music.