Jun 12, 2013 Web Exclusive
After the dizzying heights reached by 2012's Nocturne—readers with a keen memory for lists may recall it being Under the Radar's album of the year—one could hardly blame Jack Tatum, aka Wild Nothing, for settling for more of the same with a follow-up record in a couple of years. If that album was a progression from Gemini into a shoegaze aesthetic then new EP Empty Estate goes a step further into full-blown, keyboard-driven dream pop.
While Nocturne combined heart-melting soundscapes with folk sensibilities, Empty Estate does away with the acoustics and gives greater prominence to distorted electric guitars—chugging on "The Body in Rainfall," chopping on "Ride," but blended perfectly with keyboards that shimmer as gloriously as anything on m b v. The result is songs so warm and organic that they flow like the smoothest scotch into your ear, and sounds giddy enough to get washed away on and never want to return.
The rhythm section too appears to have developed wonderfully. Whereas on earlier works the drums were an unspectacular, yet solid, compliment to Wild Nothing's songs, here they have developed into more complex and engaging polyrhythms, best exemplified on the retro electropop of "A Dancing Shell"; here we also hear Tatum's most David Byrne-esque vocals and a synth line that owes a debt to "Once in a Lifetime."
It was only eight months ago that Wild Nothing treated us to a near-perfect album. Now they're just spoiling us. (www.facebook.com/wildnothing)
Author rating: 8.5/10
Average reader rating: 8/10
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