Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Wildlife - Strike Hard, Young Diamond EP
If you've ever heard of Wildlife, chances it was through the someone slipping their songs in the leak of The Arcade Fire's The Suburbs or maybe someone (probably Canadian) talking about how good "Sea Dreamer" is. And it is. Probably one of the best new songs I've heard, to be quite honest. Why? Because it's like a piece of contemporary semi-program music. There's a repeated 3-note theme on synth that starts before anything else does and continues pretty much throughout and establishes this mysterious sea scene before the band enters with jangly, ragged, clashing waves of sound. There's an understood sense of balance between more subdued playing and a full out intensity where the vocals are punky and each point driven home with this marvelous ebb and flow that takes you wherever it decides to go. However, while "Sea Dreamer" is quite epic, the EP proves that Wildlife is totally versatile and has more than one-hit wonder potential. Lead track "Stand in the Water" is another strong track, with little subtle things contribute to its greatness. The vocals have this growled out quality sometimes which I found out to be absolutely amazing. Unlike "Sea Dreamer" which crescendos and decrescendos, "Stand in the Water" stays constant pretty much all throughout. The instrumental parts are amazingly well done and move tightly together much like a jam-rock band's would. "When I Get Home" has a bluesy feel mixed with the band's powerpop-like stylings. "American Eyes" is the EP's ballad track, adding in strings to enhance the tracks' emotion-stirring aspects, to brillant effect. "Money From God" with its hand-claps and start-stop jangle guitar plays like a party track, drawing up visions of beach party fun but not sloppy enough to make it into a kegger or something like that. The track refuses to lower itself to mere party music despite its throwback beach-pop inspired sound thanks to great playing, harmony-laden shout vocals, and a carefully maintained sense of self.
Strike Hard, Young Diamond might startle you with its cohesiveness: proving that Wildlife are capable storytellers as well as talented musicians. The EP has a maturity that one wouldn't expect on a debut and yet Wildlife seems to have done this almost effortlessly. Each track seems to have different influences and yet blends together with what can be called the band's sound (it's hard to say since listeners only have these five songs to go off of) and the other tracks seamlessly. If this is what we can expect from the band's full length debut (out Nov. 16), then sign me up pronto.