Matt Kivel’s Days of Being Wild makes heavy use of raw acoustic guitar and dreamy effects that are reminiscent of lazy days spent in the sun. The album — Kivel’s second solo affair — features a stripped-down lineup of guitar, bass, drums, and vocals, but the sound is beefed up through the creative use of delay, echo, and reverb effects. The result is an expansive and fluid musical environment, tied down rhythmically with a solid drum track. The music’s calming nature is almost daydream inducing, and harmonies feature traditional folk chords and repeating riffs elaborated and elongated by layered guitar tracks. Late in the record, “You and I Only” opens with a folksy two-chord guitar part that calls to mind Neil Young. The tune’s groove is built up and enhanced with Kivel’s expressive vocals. One element that is key in defining Days’ texture and signature tone is Kivel’s voice, which waivers between breathy, emotional expressions and a craning falsetto. He cranks up the gain on “Open Road,” starting the song out with a grinding and biting guitar tone before clamoring tambourines drive the thing into alt-rock territory. Still, Kivel’s voice keeps the feeling wistful and elusive, here and throughout Days of Being Wild’s 14 tracks.
Days of Being Wild