- Audio CD (27 Aug. 2012)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Bella Union
- ASIN: B008AVYNU4
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Vinyl | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 177,431 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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Still in his early 20s, Wild Nothing’s Jack Tatum already has one acclaimed album in his back catalogue, in the form of his 2010 debut Gemini. A home-recorded word-of-mouth hit, its appealing taken on the sounds of the 1980s is now consolidated in this second release, as the songwriter further expands on his palette of laid-back moods and downbeat grooves.
A thread of references to night time and dreams runs through the aptly-named album which contributes, as do the underplayed orchestrated strings and synths and the soft percussive beats, to a downbeat, restrained atmosphere. Tracks have names like Shadow or Midnight Song, and refer wistfully to the moon, sing of “all the blind dreams” (Disappear Always), or ask “do your eyelids ever close?” (Nocturne).
Tatum’s vocal fits perfectly, languorously, with this mood. Its smoothness is only occasionally broken up by a switch to a slightly gruffer lower register, as on the title track, where it adds a little of the grit that is generally lacking elsewhere. At times the music shows a tendency to sag mid-track, the extended and rather nondescript instrumental segments in Nocturne and Rheya, for example, rather overstaying their welcome. Elsewhere, though, these instrumental sections are actually a highlight, repeatedly striking melodic gold – as in Shadow, Midnight Song and Counting Days.
Only Heather sees Wild Nothing at their most uncomplicated, the song’s straightforward a-ha-alike vocals and lovelorn declarations (“she is so lovely she makes me feel high”) marking it out as an obvious prospective single. Conversely, Through the Glass is a complex, cleverly constructed track, all the more satisfying for its tricksy blend of hazy, slightly askew rhythm, airy synths, Spanish guitar and vocal swoons that recall not only the aforementioned 80s Swedes but also, in places, Echo & the Bunnymen and The Shins.
With a veneer that might, on superficial listening, make this music itself appear superficial, Tatum has nevertheless produced an album that, despite its obvious glances back at the past, is smart, sophisticated and of its own pop moment. Definitely worth getting out of bed for.
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Top customer reviews
What John Tatum has managed to achieve with Nocturne is to present an in your face throwback to "some" great 80s sounds, but it's so well produced, and so nicely arranged, that I think the term throwback is a bit unfair.
Sure there is a wide range of influences and inspirations from the likes of The Cure, Joy Division, Talk Talk - BUT for an album that draws on such definitive noises from the past, it stands up so well in the inevitable comparisons, and sounds superior in may ways to so much chart material of the last few years that it's easily EASILY in my top 5 of 2012.
The synths are warm and full of reverb. The guitars chime and ring. The bass is a bit more jazz than pop in places. The riffs are uncluttered and effective. The vocals are smooth and ethereal, but always with a strong melody. Nocturne almost sounds like shoegaze in places, but although the drums are simple and beat along like you've got your arms out and your head down, those beats have got the nodding head factor all over. There is also a lot of air in the recordings - it feels large and spacious, and it will fill your head and make you realise that if anything, nobody back in the 80s created an album this consistent or good sounding, even if the noises that predate this recording were being used in earnest for the first time.
It's an "albums album" - no big hit singles (who cares), but all great tracks and no filler.
Well conceived Mr Tatum.
Listened to a playlist many times on aforementioned internet site and decided to fork out for the CD, very glad I did. Nocturne has kinda worn thin through the listens, it's a great track but doesn't have the staying power of all the other fantastic tracks. The album itself is a pure joy, not a weak song on there.
For me it is one of the defining albums of this year, despite the 80's influences.