I love the romance of Asbury Park-based The Well Wish. Two singer-songwriters, PJ Angeloni and Anya Schildge, become musical partners, fall in love, and also become life partners.
The Angelonis’ marriage permeates some of The Well Wish’s long-awaited EP, “Promises,” a five-song affair that is a follow-up to the three-song 2016 debut, “Of Heart and Mind,” and the 2019 stand-alone single, “Peace - Love - Truth.”
Each track on the new outing chronicles a promise of one kind or another, as well as the complicated intricacies of relationships. The poppy jangle ‘n’ mash of the opening “Here When You Call” is about the steadfast loyalty and trust required of any lasting relationship, especially a marriage.
The sweet, rootsy pickin’ of the soulful, driving title track builds into a surprising but energetic break up song about broken promises. A different direction than the opener allows The Well Wish to mix things up nicely.
An ocean allegory about the depth of true love, “Follow Me Down” has a beautiful haunting guitar akin to late Chris Isaak guitarist James Calvin Wilsey, but PJ’s take on “the King of Slow” features one of Anya’s best vocals.
The obsession chronicled in the unrequited girl group nod “Everywhere I Go” and the Sarah McLachlan-like closer “Nothing But a Lover” close out the all-too-brief collection, every track of which deserves as much adult contemporary and adult album alternative airplay as possible. I especially like Anya’s Roy Bittanesque piano run that ends the EP.
Joining the creative and seemingly happy couple on “Promises” is another Asbury husband-and-wife team: backing vocalist Sarah Berardi and drummer-percussionist Rich Berardi. Rich stands out most on the rhythmic feast of “Everywhere I Go,” while Sarah’s strong harmonies makes Anya’s delightful lead vocals even more impressive. Helping to hold down the rhythm throughout is bassist Prash Singh.
Recorded and mixed at Retromedia Sound Studios in Red Bank by Adam Vaccarelli (The Successful Failures, The Ribeye Brothers) and mastered at Daughterboard Audio by Elaine Rasnake, an acclaimed singer-songwriter in her own right, “Promises” can be heard live at two tasty gigs. On Sept. 30, The Well Wish will play Asbury Park Porchfest at 3 p.m. at 830 Dunlewy St. Donations collected at Porchfest will benefit Mercy Center, a nonprofit guided by the social justice tradition of the Catholic women’s organization Sisters of Mercy to alleviate generational poverty in the Greater Asbury Park area with services, programs and education, and Asbury Park African-American Music Project, a volunteer-run, community-driven project that celebrates the stories of Springwood Avenue through historical research and interviews, educational outreach, and public events.
The Well Wish also can be enjoyed 4 p.m. Nov. 18 at Transparent Clinch Gallery, also Asbury Park. For more about the quintet/duo, visit https://www.thewellwish.com.