Wild Nothing – Nocturne (Captured Tracks)

Wild Nothing, since inception, have turned heads. From the blogosphere buzz that was the cover of Kate Bush's 'Cloudbusting' to the misty wave of dream-pop that seems to stream from creator Jack Tatum's fingertips, there's always something intriguing about the group. It's been over two years since the critically lauded lo-fi debut Gemini hit the shelves, and there's a definite 'growing-up' in that time, as evident on upcoming effort Nocturne. There's a more consistent, coherent feeling throughout the album, and it seems as if the man behind Wild Nothing has veered away from brash statements and reigned in his sound to create a solid second record.

Released Aug 27th, 2012 via Captured Tracks / By Larry Day
Wild Nothing – Nocturne (Captured Tracks) There's a slick, upbeat welcome to the LP, in the form of Tatum's most Smiths-y effort yet, 'Shadow'. There are sweeping brushes of Morrissey's patented brand of crestfallen indie-pop, but still a heaped helping of the astral pop hooks and hazy synths. 'Nocturne', the title track, is exactly what it says on the tin - a nocturne (a song inspired by the night, for those out of the classical loop). Just as The xx do, Tatum utilises reverb en masse to evoke the utter loneliness of midnight - flickering guitar whispers in the background and poppy synths tug the track from the abyssal depths of night-time to create a delirious blend of dawn-breaking indie.

The one thing the album lacks is a sense of serious pace. There are lethargic tracks and uptempo cuts, but nothing seems immediate - there's a sense of procrastination and couch-potato-ness which doesn't necessarily command the listener to pay attention but rather half-arsedly hints at it. The only time this is broken is during new-wave number 'Paradise', which sounds like a cross between Hurts and a really sad Duran Duran. It features tropical melodies, sampled seagulls and sunkissed basslines, and is a true blast from the past - it's easy to imagine Tatum rocking padded shoulders and a Le Bon pout as he croons that almost-baritone.

'Rheya' opens with an icy intro, with frigid keys and a delicate echo bouncing off every shimmering wall of sound. There are oodles of hooks dusted with a light layer of winter, and though we are smack in the middle of summer (honestly), it still manages to send shivers. 'Midnight Song' is a soothing entrée, with those familiar rattling guitars and fuzzy-warm shoegaze sensibilities; there are moments of Yuck apathy, but it regains honest emotion with the inclusion of layered synths and a piano solo.

The whole album is a love letter to the 80s, told through the dreampop-tinted glasses of Tatum so as to give it a modern twist. There is evidence littered through Nocturne, be it in the C86 tones or the wild and distant guitars, smothered in reverb, which line most of the tracks. This isn't a problem though, and the refined sound which has evolved in the days following Gemini shines through, giving the record a strident dreamy feel. Nocturne is a melancholic bouquet of euphoric dreams, laced with 80s pop and shoegaze hugeness, with introspective lyrics about love and loss. Wild Nothing may still be finding their feet, but with something as solid as Nocturne they'll be sprinting in no time at all.