Wild Nothing At Whelan’s – Review
Jack Tatum’s dream pop garage experiment Wild Nothing have come a long way since the release of their melancholic debut album, Gemini. Described as a band when on the road, and ‘just me’ when in the studio by Tatum, the group have found themselves in a bit of a grey area identity wise. Strong vocal hooks and dreamy jangly guitars have always been their strong-suit, but with their newest offering, Life of Pause, new territory has been discovered via a newfound interest in Philadelphia Soul and a more lavish production quality.
Having played in the Workman’s Club some five years ago, the mid sized venue that is Whelan’s is certainly a step up. The group have reached the masses through notable performances on KEXP and Lollapalooza festival, all the while maintaining the underground hipster vibe that seems so cool these days. Early tracks ‘Summer Holiday’ and ‘Nocturne’ set the mood to a suitably chill one from the outset, with Tatum’s dreamy vocals blending with the bouncy and soothing guitars seamlessly. The newer ‘Lady Blue’ contrasts the prior tracks pretty boldly, with aggressive synth sounds and a more interactive, grooving rhythm section on show in the verse.
‘Disappear Always’ brings it back to a more breezy, floaty vibe with the almost ‘70s Bowie like lead guitars and melodies. Naturally, we’re treated to more new tunes, a highlight of which being the psychedelic and totally spaced ‘Alien’, sounding like an old Pink Floyd track mixed with some Kevin Parker magic. The band really comes into its stride at this point, grooving and supporting each other perfectly. ‘TV Queen’ is a bit more urgent in its tempo and feeling, but still captures the sleepy sounding dream pop themes that the band are renowned for.
While there are many magical moments to choose from, ‘Shadow’ proves to be the ultimate highlight of the set. The balance of gentle angst, swirling guitars and soothing synthesisers support the Billy Corgan-esque vocals from Tatum, and the crowd lap it up. The beauty of the tune is in its simplicity, and it delights on that front. The set isn’t long per se, but the perfect length all the same. The band were tight, Tatum suitably charming and the music stellar. Wild Nothing are surely spearheading the American Indie movement at the moment, and it’s no surprise why. With tunes like these, none can resist their moody charm.