Cain Price creates soulful psychedelic-folk songs that are as unique as they are catchy. This month the East Vancouver recording project of Mathew Wilkins is celebrating the release of Open Call, a five-track EP that pairs Wilkins’ expressive vocals with acoustic guitar, introspective lyrics, and an array of other instruments and electronic samples that coalesce into a groovy, mature sound.
Wilkins describes the creation of Open Call as a journey of experimentation, which contributes to the overall effervescent tone and allows each song to function as a distinct experience on its own. “A lot of the songs are super different between one another, and there’s no real vibe at all,” says Wilkins over the phone on a Sunday afternoon. “So I’m just introducing Cain Price to the world and being like, ‘here’s what this fictional character is capable of.’”
Upon first listen, Wilkins’ silvery vocals make the biggest impact, with harmonies in the mix making the most of his powerful range, utilized with the same finesse as one of the many instruments. The first two songs on the album start out measured and dreamy, setting the tone for an energetic, head-bobbing rhythm that seizes control midway, culminating most memorably with the song “Vergegnungen,” a powerful electronic-based crescendo that reveals hidden depths with each subsequent spin.
Wilkins wrote and recorded the album in his bedroom, giving the songs an authentic, grittiness around the edges. “I have this little home studio in my bedroom and I’d lay down the guitar and voice parts that I knew really well,” he says. “And then honestly just tinker with them for so, so long.”
The lyrical content meanders between metaphors around isolation and confusion within the modern context. In “Think About the Other Side,” Wilkins claims that “order and disorder are both meaningless,” yet inevitably concludes the EP on a lightheartedly hopeful tone, asking listeners to “seize the day, but don’t squeeze it.” “I’m just hoping it resonates with people,” he says. “I would love to have a piece of art that’s just helpful to people in some way, whether that’s emotionally or spiritually, or what have you.”
Open Call is an indie, DIY debut that sounds as polished as any big budget studio-release. Something beautiful and sincere happens when someone pours their heart into their work and pushes the limits of their skill, like Cain Price has clearly done here, and with the end of the album it truly does feel like a brand new beginning.