Article by Del Chaney
Virginia-based Wild Nothing, AKA multi-instrumentalist Jack Tatum, has been writing, producing and releasing impressive bodies of work ever since his twelve-track debut album 'Gemini' entered the musical arena back in 2010. Fast-forward four albums and his latest melodic release 'Life Of Pause' is causing quite a stir within the synth-pop fraternity. It had its official release back on 19th February via Captured Tracks (USA), Bella Union (UK & EU), Spunk (AUS) and Big Nothing (Japan).
Luscious spears of golden sound pierce the reverb-drenched landscape as a whirling, droning guitar progression straddles a hypnotic sequenced off-beat drum pattern and opens the doors to this album's stunningly melodic opening track entitled 'Reichpop'. Everything within this track seems perfectly oiled and well thought out as different patterns of instrumentation appear, hug the vocal line and then meld back into the sonic ether. If I was of the right age to appreciate the hazy, experimental green shoot beginnings of '80s synth-pop I'd imagine it would sound exactly like 'Lady Blue'. I mean, it has all of the components associated with that era and genre of music but with a modern day twist! Its prominent pop orientated bass and synth progressions, guitar stabs and floating, reverb-drenched vocal lines all work really well here.
Track three, 'A Woman's Wisdom', continues in the same vein. This time, guitars are brought to the fore, primarily to announce the arrival of that impressive vocal as the percussion and synths carry the entire track on a wave of impressive melody. 'Japanese Alice' is a darling of the online niche radio stations with its driving noise-pop and twee connotations and it's easy to hear why Wild Nothing has attracted the attention of shoegaze, dreampop and synth-pop fans alike. 'Japanese Alice' meanders through its verse-chorus/verse-chorus song structure and finishes with a little doff of the cap to the modern day shoegazers with a noisy, reverberating guitar progression. Wild Nothing's cult pop credentials are clearly evident within the synth progressions of 'Life Of Pause', whilst the floaty, wavy guitar lines and soaring synth swells of 'Alien' are reminiscent of mid '80s era 4AD dreampop.
'To Know You' enters the sonic arena on experimental synth lines and a driving drum and bass attack reminding me throughout of Echo & The Bunnymen. This is followed up with stunning piano stabs, shimmering acoustic guitar lines and hazy vocal progressions as 'Adore' opens its colourful sonic wings and lets fly with melodic splendour. 'TV Queen' is another slice of '80s synth-pop while the moody and experimental reverb-drenched tones of 'Whenever I' puts a different spin on the '80s pop theme. The album's closer 'Under My Thumb' is a six-minute-plus cacophony of shimmering sound waves weaving in and out of synth-orientated pop, melodic vocal lines and shimmering guitar stabs. A fitting closer to a great album.
Wild Nothing's website
Buy: 'Life of Pause'
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