Alex Wellkers’ “Fly Away”

Alex Wellkers’ musical journey began early. He started playing accordion at six years old before transitioning to keyboard, classical guitar, and harmonica. Wellkers later discovered a passion for blues guitar and developed a fast aptitude for the instrument. However, he has never limited himself. Wellkers fostered a love for rap music and began playing grunge and rock.

He released two EPs between 2014 and 2021. His first full-length album Famous Then appeared in 2022 and set the stage for his current release. The eleven-track Fly Away favors a hard rock style. However, it features a broad mix of genres ranging from the aforementioned guitar-driven sound to classical and acoustic. The stark opening for the collection is a song entitled “You Want Us”. The bulk of the cut depends on intimate vocals and acoustic guitar. However, Wellkers does punctuate the brief first track with a smattering of strings. It is a recurring addition to the album. 

“We Celebrate” begins with a short piano introduction. It soon transforms into another acoustic-fueled piece. Wellkers applies post-production effects to the vocals. They have a dramatic effect without veering into overwrought territory. Wellkers is not content with this approach. An alternative rock sensibility, grunge for some, incrementally transforms the song and ends in a different place than it began. Nonetheless, “We Celebrate” stands as a cohesive and sensible work.

Strings return for the introduction of “Grab the Stars”. He pairs their contributions with a staccato guitar line that heralds another wholehearted stab into grunge/hard rock. It is rousing fare. Despite his European background, Wellkers is fully conversant with the style, and his sense of song construction helps make “Grab the Stars” one of the album’s most durable moments. The foreign language ballad “Niemals Jemals Da gewesen”, translated into English as “You Know I Love You”, defies linguistic barriers. The emphatic emotion behind Wellkers’ vocals, the piano playing, and especially his piercing lead guitar work is integral. It’s a thoroughly affecting ballad. 

The crushing riffs of “What You Think Right Now” is another musical high-water mark for Fly Away. Wellkers eschews any stylistic detours. It is straightforward and unforgiving guitar rock tempered by Wellkers’ vocal clarity. He has a good voice for this material, and the lack of real grit has surprisingly little effect on the final result. Instead, the contrast invigorates the presentation. The finale “Do Not Fall” relies on his guitar rock skills. The crucial difference between this and the earlier cut is that he explores a larger dynamic range in the song’s arrangement, and this added shot of diversity helps conclude Fly Away on an impactful note. 

Despite his background, Alex Wellkers is perfecting a sound and songwriting aesthetic capable of global appeal. His considerable talents are on full display throughout Fly Away. It predicts even greater triumphs to come. The diversity of his gifts will only continue to deepen over the coming years as he continues honing his craft. Taking this journey with him will reap countless rewards for listeners, and this is the first big step. 

Gwen Waggoner