Wild Nothing - Nocturne [Shoegaze]
Wild Nothing is a project by one man, Jack Tatum, who draws from dream pop, indie rock and shoegaze as the base of his sound. The result is technically the same as in other shoegaze albums, sweet melodies, windy vocals, drenched atmosphere and fuzzy production, but there are subtle differences that make the album stand out from the indie hipster scene (I'm looking at you, xx).
Whilst most bands in this genre seem to think that fuzzy production is the base of such music, Tatum has emphasised a lot on proper melodies that are bittersweet and never sound forced and overwritten. In fact, it is a modest album bereft of any affiliation with hipsters, and Tatum is self-aware in his song-writing, which is needless to say, one of the best of this year's astonishing music releases. Guitar technicality is a definitely plus, and the sleep riffs in this album have more creativity and ambition than anything Coldplay has ever attempted (case in point, the acoustic guitar solo that pops up abruptly in 'Through The Grass').
Songwriting-wise, Tatum's delivery is not rushed or overly long; timing being one of the biggest pitfalls of shoegazing music. He does not waste time repeating melodic sections and despite the slow pace of the music, the songs allow themselves to draw enough attention before overstaying their welcome. Part of this can be owed to the subtle song variations sneaked into the song templates that may not be so discernible in the mix unless the listener owns proper headphones. Usage of electronic synth, and a decent variety and not the same sound effects, use of strings and some actual effort in vocals, going from low-pitched solemn singing to high-pitched cooing in various songs. Guitar driven melodies like the title track and lead single 'The Blue Dress' spout classic rock moments whilst songs like 'Shadow' and 'Paradise' are driven by their melodic themes which at once make them more visual then aural, and elsewhere drums play a very important part in the pulse of more upbeat songs like 'Only Heather' and 'Paradise', helping to break apart the monotony of the stoner pace on the other songs, and the variety keeps the album fresh instead of becoming a dud after few spins. Tatum's unorthodox song-writing also manifests itself in 'Counting Days', where the countermelody of the guitar is the hook as opposed to the synth harmony that defines chorus. Smart,suave dynamics like this save the album from falling to mediocrity.
I wouldn't say this is my favourite indie/dream pop/shoegaze album this year, (Lotus Plaza probably still holds the cake for that title), but it is definitely a strong release that won't go unnoticed by true music connoisseurs. I highly recommend this album for fans of the genre or for people who want a nice slow change of pace.
★★★★☆ Good - Strong flow, immediately grabs you