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Jack Tatum, aka Wild Nothing, has an uncanny ability to transform bedroom-born lo-fi indie into lusciously textured examinations of the human condition that pluck at the heartstrings and tug at the tear ducts. After spending time in tropical-punk outfit Facepaint and having explored more traditional singer/songwriter territories as Jack and the Whale, the Virginia Tech student has arrived at a stylistic crossroads where gentle blog-buzz intersects pop immediacy most hyped-to-the-hilt newcomers would kill for. Gemini probably won't outsell same-year debuts from The Drums, Avi Buffalo and Surfer Blood, all of whom have had their share of pre-release coverage. But it deserves to.
The sweetness of Tatum's exquisite melodies, often wrapped tight in a comforting blanket of distortion and propelled on their way by simple but effective percussion, is consistently tempered by his lyrical predilection for pessimism. Track four here is even titled Pessimist, and opens with the line: "Boys don't cry, they just want to die". Hopefully Tatum is not actually writing from a position of irreversible bleakness–after all, it'd be tragic if the enjoyment experienced by the audience came at a cost to the artist.
His music does present fairly familiar touchstones. Contemporary parallels are there to be made with similarly solitary musicians, working from a room that might also be where they sleep: think Atlas Sound and Toro Y Moi, albeit when the latter is more dizzied and druggy than in obvious awe of J Dilla. There are traces of Manchester's past in the arrangements, too, as the occasional guitar line triggers thoughts of New Order as assimilated by Memory Tapes, and Tatum's endearing melancholy is comparable to that expounded by a certain Steven Patrick Morrissey. But despite the abundance of nods to assumed influences, Gemini sounds remarkably original–maybe not in terms of its foundations, but certainly the manner in which Tatum melds downbeat discourse with delectable instrumentation. It's as if every line on his blueprints has been smudged, the edges running over each other so that the whole becomes much more than a simple series of standalone tracks.
A closing line akin to "believe the hype" would suit, if there was much to confirm. There isn't a whole lot of Wild Nothing out there–but what's here is so perfectly formed, albeit with material misery accompanying apologues of love, that it sells itself without the need for attention-grabbing overstatement. (Whoops.) --Mike Diver
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Top Customer Reviews
And yes you knew we would reach this point since like the debut by fellow Americans "Pains of being pure at heart" this album does owe a rather large debt to the famous/infamous C86 tape released by NME, capturing a perfect snapshot of bands or more precisely musical under achievers with its soundtrack of "jangly" guitars and fey melodies. Check out the blissful "Summer Holiday" on Gemini and you will instantly recognise the sound and the source. Other highlights include the Smiths like "Golden Haze" with uncanny like Johnny Marr accompanying riffs. "Confirmation" is alternatively more in the territory of the the Cure (an influence probably most prevalent on the title track) or even New Order with a bass driven shoegazing song full of whispery chorus's accompanied by synths that float in and out.Read more ›
The reason why I've rated it thusly is mainly because Wild Nothing are almost an exact copy of Cocteau Twins, albeit with more intelligible lyrics. Wild Nothing would suit you if you are a fan of the twee/pop variety pitched anywhere between the aforementioned Cocteau Twins and Best Coast, for example. The other reason I've knocked off a star is that there are a handful of tracks which do absolutely nothing for me, so while there is a bunch of good stuff, there is too much filler to warrant a classic status.
Anyway, on to the good stuff. Stand out tracks are "Drifter" which is a slower tempo dream ballad-type track. "Bored Games" goes down the MBV route of programmed drums over fuzzy delayed guitar and yearning lyrical refrains, "Chinatown" has a nice synth-flute loop that gives way to stadium rock drums, and "Our Composition Book" fades in with jangly guitars very much in the style of The Smiths "some Girls Are Bigger Than Others" or "Ask". The whole album has a dark 80's thread running through it and yet maintains this sunny side also. If you like dreamy 80's guitar vibes and a good pop song it won't let you down.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I can't stop listening to Chinatown. What a classic. I first heard them on Pandora, I was listening to the Arcade Fire station and they played "Lips won't last forever (live in dreams)" and I was instantly hooked. Arguably the best song, also the track 1. I can see Bon Iver fans loving Wild Nothing.
Other songs I love include "Drifter" "Confirmation" and My Angel Lonely. The sound is also a little reminiscent of the Cranberries strangely.
I love music because it takes me places without travelling. Gemini is one such album which keeps me entertained even if I'm drinking just water and coffee.
Every song does it's own spin. It's been less than a week but I'm hooked.
guitar pop that draws creative inspiration from 80's bands. Similarities to The The, New Order,
The Smiths, Radio Dept., The Cure, Orange Juice, Tears For Fears, Factory label bands, etc.
This is the kind of pop music you want to sleep with. It's sublime, fresh, sexy and lonely; with an
earnestly and insistently throbbing urgency that somehow manages to put you at ease while
constructing a bewitching aura of hypnotic pop beauty. Former members of Jack and the Whale,
It's a great driving album, summer album, pretty much year round this album has been playing in my headphones. I also had the chance to see them in NYC. They put on a great show. I really like how they've taken aspects of the retro 80's rock style and transformed it into their own brand of shoe-gaze.
I think this has become one of my favorite albums this year for the reason that there is nothing out there today quite like it. There isn't anything this catchy that is also this pure and genuine sounding throughout. It's filled with a variety of songs, more laid back than upbeat, but nothing that falls short of the overall consistency and sound that the group has created. For fans of The Cure and the dreamier side of indie rock, this album is probably right up your alley.
Darn I thought I gave up indie music of this genre long time ago... boasted it to me son, look the music you listening now is re-hash, re-juvenated, re-recorded, re-tributed, re-retro, etc..
Thank you thank you.. (wifey !! - where did you last saw or stashed away my pointed shoes...)