By Allison Belcher
Artist: Wild Nothing
Album: Life of Pause
Record Label: Captured Tracks
Release Date: February 19, 2016
In the small yet ever-expanding world of dream pop, Wild Nothing plays a vital role as an artist in helping describe this genre of music. With three full length released albums, Jack Tatum, the lead singer and founder of the band, continues to contribute excellent music to the dream pop universe with the help of his synthesizers, dreamy voice and psych pop guitars. While Tatum totally delivers with his new album, Life of Pause, he gives his listeners something fresh and different in comparison to Gemini and Nocturne. Gemini and Nocturne, two greatly praised albums by dream pop and chill wave fans, acted almost as background music, delivering soft reverb and gentle instrumentals. Gemini, Tatum’s first full length album, committed to fuzzy guitar pop sounds that were greatly influenced by the sounds of the 80’s and 90’s. His sound in Gemini was compared to bands such as The Pains of Being Pure at Heart and The Smiths. The dreamy atmosphere and sleepy textures of Gemini attracted lovers of dream pop and spacey instrumentals. During the making of Gemini, Tatum gained influence from bands such as Atlas Sound and The Radio Dept, similar to his influences during the creation of Life of Pause.
However, Tatum shot for something different with Life of Pause, giving fans cheerful, organic and upbeat songs. “Reichpop,” the album’s first track and settler of the overall mood, introduces upbeat marimbas and vocals full of hope and positivity. Other songs on the album, such as “Life of Pause” and “TV Queen,” follow “Reichpop”’s example and delivers faster tempoed songs with the help of sparkling synthesizers and upbeat drums (contributed by Peter Bjorn & John’s John Ericksson.) It’s almost no wonder why Tatum went for a more positive psychedelic pop approach, being that he worked closely with Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Ariel Pink during the creation of Life of Pause. While the entire album sounds like an adventure through space with Tatum’s unique and well thought out instrumentals, he lacks on the depth of his lyrics, presenting songs that give no apparent story or specific emotion. In “Reichpop”, Tatum sings “I am the silent son / I am the only one / Staying home today / I’d lift you up if I knew,” leaving its listener in a state of bewilderment as to what Tatum could be talking about.
While the lyrics and story telling of Life of Pause aren’t up to par, Tatum’s use of a variety of instruments and sounds are A+, drawing influence from other dream pop/chill wave bands such as Deerhunter and Neon Indian. Many bands have converted over to a more cheerful pop sound over the past year (Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Tame Impala, Dr. Dog, etc.) so it’s almost no surprise that Wild Nothing decided to hop on the bandwagon. Don’t get it wrong though, the “bandwagon” pop approach works, especially for Wild Nothing. It’s refreshing to hear an album from Wild Nothing that acts as more than just “dreamy background noise,” and for that fans should be grateful for the release of Life of Pause.
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