A Captivating Voice: Silverware’s Ainsley Wagoner

‘No Plans’ is a tour de force and a remarkable demonstration of the S.F. singer’s powerful range.

No Plans, the debut album from the San Francisco band Silverware is an admirably adventurous statement, with songs ranging from elegiac Sunday morning piano ballads to uptempo krautrock numbers to cloudlike analog synth creations.

But if you’ve heard this album, just one thing is going to stick with you: that voice.

Ainsley Wagoner, the lead singer and chief artistic engine behind Silverware has one of those alluring registers that is absolutely bewitching. Pillowy yet powerful, devastating yet uplifting, austere yet imbued with depth, Wagoner’s vocals mesmerize and dazzle on No Plans, recalling a bevy of great, versatile singers from past and present — a cohort that includes everyone from Joni Mitchell to Natasha Khan of Bats for Lashes to Natalie Mering of Weyes Blood.

Throughout the seven songs on No Plans, which debuts on SF Weekly today, Wagoner’s voice is a floating, beguiling constant, connecting the disparate pieces of the album together with a commanding presence. Clarion and distinct, Wagoner’s soprano is the binding force, helping to anchor the multi-suite opener “Daniel,” the propulsive, motorik pop piece “Important” and the haunting “No Plans,” a lost track off Blue if ever there was one. Even in the lo-fi closer “Cat Feet,” where vocal distortions are introduced to the mix, Wagoner’s delivery is undeniable.

Because Wagoner’s voice is such a malleable gift, the songs on No Plans have a unique ability to take on different meanings with each new listen. On the powerful “Take Me With You,” Wagoner belts out “I wasn’t good/I wasn’t good” to sonorous effect. At first, it sounds like a humbling confession—a mea culpa filled with rueful gravitas. Upon further inspection, however, it could be a cathartic statement of self-awareness—a defiant and confident acknowledgement of her imperfections. Either way, the line will send you spinning.Wagoner said that making No Plans was an “intentional surrender to the influence of [her] collaborators,” and the crew that she assembled for the album—including producer Omar Akrouche of worthitpurchase—admirably show off their skills throughout the record. But there is no question that Wagoner is the centerpiece. A voice like hers demands to be heard.

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