Life is a journey filled with a myriad of emotions, molded by peaks and valleys within. It encompasses the joy of witnessing new life bloom and the profound sorrow that accompanies the loss of a loved one. On his EP Caught In The Middle, Wesley Adams Cook delves deep into his memories, drawing inspiration from different stages of his life. With a captivating blend of rock and folk, infused with an emotive ardency, Cook takes listeners on a cohesive and immersive listening experience.
Aptly named, the opening track “Apple Of Your Eye” exudes a youthful whimsy, characterized by twinkling keys and delightful references to cotton candy and Coca-Cola Classic. These playful elements guide us into the title-touting refrain, where the combination of playful guitars, twinkling keys, and Cook’s evolving vocal presence creates an endearing sound that is accessible and emotive, while avoiding the overly saccharine pitfalls of some treats mentioned within.
The EP takes a shift towards a grittier, more adult perspective with “Bluff.” The lyrics make references to “fine wine, valet,” and expensive car models, shedding light on the rampant materialism within society. The constant pursuit of want and desire is explored as a seemingly never-ending chase for adrenaline and security. The chorus stands out in particular, admitting that this excess is “killing me,” all while maintaining a composed alt-rock infectiousness.
Elsewhere, the track “Baby” delves into despair, chronicling the confrontation of obstacles. The vocals drive home the struggle, proclaiming, “I’m drinking myself slowly out of my mind,” as the atmospheric bridge takes hold. Sharp-cutting synth additions complement the bustling post-punk bass elevation, creating a powerful impact at the track’s midpoint. “Baby” serves as a testament to Cook’s inclination towards a more rock-inspired sound.
From the contemplatively lush folk tones of “Empty Chairs” to the breathtaking closer, “Little Things,” where serene vocals, whistling adornments, and plucky strings converge with mesmerizing effect, Wesley Adams Cook’s Caught In The Middle EP captivates with poignant songwriting that fearlessly tackles life’s fluctuating tendencies.