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Wild Nothing - Golden Haze

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Artist: Wild Nothing

Album: Golden Haze

Label: Captured Tracks

Review date: Feb. 10, 2011

Wild Nothing’s debut album, Gemini, appeared last year to no small amount of attention. It featured a dozen strong tracks, including one indelible single, “Chinatown,” in which booming percussion, Jack Tatum’s ethereal vocals, and a winding melody arose and made a host of wistful moods both tangible and impossible to shake. Golden Haze follows that album with, perhaps, a knowing nod toward the style established on Gemini; when describing that LP, one could do far worse than quote the title of Tatum’s new EP. The haziness does seem to be a bit more prevalent here, though, the work more restrained.

The song titles speak to the EP’s contemplative mood: “Asleep,” “Quiet Hours.” The romanticism of Gemini is taken up a notch; “Take Me In” and “Your Rabbit Feet” find Tatum yearning over steadily pulsing drum-machine beats, ebbing synth washes and lyrical expressions of regret. (The latter’s “It was a shame that we spent so little time living, isn’t it?” comes to mind.) And halfway through “Vultures Like Lovers,” the melody slips in a craggy, hollowed-out beat that both provides an ominous contrast with the wistful tone heard elsewhere on the EP and helps energize the song as it approaches its end.

That contrast is also a welcome one. Golden Haze is a solid follow-up to Gemini, but sometimes feels monochromatic in comparison. Admittedly, it’s an EP, where a sustained mood is more justifiable, and less likely to wear out its welcome, but at just 18 songs into Tatum’s work as Wild Nothing, it’d be a shame to see him starting to repeat himself. With his ability to craft texture and melody established, one hopes that future Wild Nothing albums will find him applying that craft to a greater dynamic range.

By Tobias Carroll

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