You’ll be dreaming of glorious California beaches and basking in the sunshine after listening to Wild Nothing’s Nocturne. This follow-up to their celebrated debut, Gemini, is all fuzzy guitar, poised but still hazy vocals and it certainly follows in its predecessors’ dreamy-pop footsteps.
Since Gemini’s release, a number of similarly 80s-influenced bands have popped up and flourished in the indie world. Bands like Twin Shadow, Washed Out and Beach Fossils.
Yet as you are whisked on the quartets musical endeavors, after a few trips, you can hear a subtle progression in Wild Nothing’s sound. The emphasis has drifted from the synth to lucid guitar licks, confident coos and pounding percussion.
Yet there is one element that hasn’t changed…the undeniable shimmering guidance of 80s pop. Bits and pieces of The Cure and Fleetwood Mac appear dotted throughout the 11 polished tracks.
Marching along the enticing trails of three-decade-old hubbub, the opening number “Shadow” starts with a perky guitar riff and a peachy bass-line. Jack Tatum’s voice soothes you as it drifts in and out of instrumentals until the shooting melodies and jaunty violin take over for the last minute and a half. Similar exquisitely twinkling sounds carry through the second song, “Midnight Song,” picture running through sand, feeling the sun’s rays, even if Tatum’s warbling about the midnight song “sing you to the moon.”
Charged percussion sets off “Paradise,” and in the same manner as the first two tracks, adds to the seaside feel when a two minute instrumental plays out featuring chirpy seagulls and droning synths. It invites you to sit back and imagine the paradise the group projects.
The beginning of “The Blue Dress” is reminiscent of the intro to an 80s crime TV show. Until, that is, Tatum’s safe, relaxing voice and peppy guitar brings the song to our decade, which is what makes this band so irresistible. You’re thrown into the past, whipped back to the present and then plunked somewhere in between.
The title track’s marbled guitar fends off any weighty thoughts and compels you to dream of a different time (or at least the seaside) egged on by the coos of “and I just want to let you know, ooh you can have me.”
There’s so much personality in this album! – just as you feel a steady, dulcet rhythm drifting into a reverie, an erratic and unpredictable melody manifests out of nowhere. This quirky habit is featured around the whimsical, sentimental vocals of “Only Heather.” The final track, “Rheya” evokes Wham-like chiming synth, until, of course, the guitar and charming vocals set in. You can hear the twinges of heartache as Tatum sings, “I still try to forget Rheya, as she cries at the ocean that gave her life. Touch me one last time, I don’t want to remember this life.” The song consists of eight lines and they linger as components of this sheepish but undeniably musically pepped up band flow into a cohesive beautiful resonance.
A drowsy, delirious feeling presides over Nocturne. It’s a catchy, mellow soundtrack to an evening of summer dazes.
You can stream the entire Wild Nothing album Nocturne here: