|photo by Chris Weiss|
"Drunk Driver", the second single from the band's upcoming album, shifts the energy away from the turbulence of "Closer To God" towards something a bit more introspective. Lead by Katie Von Schleicher, "Drunk Driver" is a testament to narrative restraint. With a title like "Drunk Driver", the listener immediately conjures all sort of expectations of what the song will be, where it'll go and the band subvert them effortlessly. "Drunk Driver" starts as a trickle - Gabriel Birnbaum's guitar and Von Schleicher's keys delicately setting the scene before the vocals even enter. Von Schleicher does a great deal of foreshadowing from the jump: "Those who rise on handouts sit on paper thrones//It just takes on lit match instead of time to fuck 'em in their hearts". They're delivered with a casualness that belies their ominous nature as Von Schleicher coasts from moment to moment and lessens the tension by virtue of not speeding to the point. Like a guessing game with too many rounds, the secret seems less imperative the longer it's not just freely given.
And then excellent songsmiths that they are, there's a colossal shift in energy like a damn breaking and Von Schleicher's words come as the deluge. Her detailed descriptions of the city take on less of a sense of wonder with more of a distraught agitation and beleaguered weariness and then it comes - slight and subtle enough that you almost miss it: "I loved her with no thought for me as reckless as a drunk driver exhales and turns the key". Wilder Maker manage to subvert expectations so resolutely and masterfully while still delivering an exceptionally engaging song. Smaller details and moments like Von Schleicher's pained "Oh God" and the group's repetitive "And the band plays on" building tension before the band just let's it all go.
Zion, the third full length album from Wilder Maker, is out July 13th on Northern Spy Records and is available for pre-order now.