Taking a Ride With Westfalia's Moving Car
Get swept away by the band’s entrancing debut album, born from the charms of a New England summer.
By Allison Foster
Sprouting from a small town off the coast of New Jersey, Westfalia is everything we didn’t know we needed. Self-proclaimed group of “four guys from new jersey who don’t know anything about music,” Westfalia is an instant classic, a homegrown project that began releasing music on Bandcamp in July 2017. Sharing a name with the charming Volkswagen camper, their music would be a perfect soundtrack to a scenic journey through the French countryside, pit-stopping to dip your feet in a cold stream or walk the winding streets. Westfalia’s complete discography, which can be found on Bandcamp, gives a nod to classic and alluring artwork. The band’s album covers seem to fit like clockwork with their sound, implementing art pieces from artists such as Edvard Munch and Alfredo Zalce. Often depicting shorelines or beach scenes, the art manages to speak for the gaps between the songs, almost like the artists painted them with the music humming along in the background. I like to imagine a 21st century Munch, poised on his stool and painting The Scream, wondering if he’s the type of guy who doesn’t care about much else. Their 2018 project Moving Car seems to solidify the band’s sound, keeping steady with the same effervescent yet contemplative nature of their short 2017 EP Protect Us From The Truth. Headed by frontman Joe Guzzardo, the band draws a noticeable yet tasteful stylistic resemblance to iconic alternative groups The Growlers and The Strokes. Their first full length album is impressive, with quality recording and production that makes the listening experience all the more pleasant. With well-executed and developed energies amongst all 11 of their songs, the band shows their versatility specifically on the full length album. With more freedom to flesh out the track list, Moving Car seems to begin and end the chapter in a way that makes listeners vie for more, while tying up loose ends and truly feeling like a full, established record. Adversely, 2017’s three-track EP had incredible tracks and composure, but seemed like pieces were missing. In addition to their persistently lustrous melodies, Westfalia captivates listeners with an interesting mix of tracks. Their track titled “Beach,” featured on Moving Car, is entirely instrumental and reminiscent of just what it sounds -- summer, the beach, the breeze. The album features both high and low energy songs, such as “There Was Nothing Left To Say” and “July 14th,” respectively.There is beauty in both intricacy and simplicity, both of which Westfalia executes well.
Guzzardo’s vocal control is not something to overlook, even in the slower songs -- such as
“Fever Dream” -- where he’s at the forefront. He still manages to add this intricacy to the tracks whilst using one voice, bouncing off the punch of the guitar yet maintaining his composure. In addition to indie rock staples The Strokes and The Growlers, the drums and guitar parts show a likeness to The Buttertones, with the bouncy, surf rock energy that has been rising in popularity. Drummer Collin Melazzo not only maintains the beat, but often plays quintessential parts to shape the songs into something completely new.
Indie is alive and well, and it’s manifesting in Westfalia. The band’s refreshing combination of poignant melodies and raspy vocals can get you on your feet or in your feelings, and everyone needs a little of both. Take a moment to internalize the lyrics and appreciate the riffs, or drive around town with this playing in your car. For four guys who know nothing about music, this album is pretty damn good.
Westfalia has played several shows in New Jersey and New York City, with an upcoming set on June 14th in Clifton, NJ. If you’re in the area, I would highly recommend swinging by for the show to hear for yourself. For more information about the set, check out their Twitter (@westfaliaband). If you can’t make it to the tri-state area, you can find them on Bandcamp (westfaliatoday.bandcamp.com), iTunes, and Spotify.