It’s just that there’s an overkill of melodic-lo fi-beachboys based-outfits of late that made Indiefuzz decide not to review Wild Nothing’s debut album ‘Gemini’ and Tame Impale, The Morning Benders, JJ and I could go on and on and on. These bands are all from the same church of music that is worshipped at Pitchfork.com.
It would be much more in the spirit of Indiefuzz to do great deal of dissing and hissing at this point, but instead we meekly join the gospel; this is a church worth worshipping because it produces some goddamn good music.
Like the aforementioned bands Jack Tatum of Wild Nothing masters the art of constructing splenetic lullabies out of – in itself - heartening and sunny elements. Listening to the album while driving passed magnificent fields of sunflowers in Dordonge I couldn’t help but wonder what ‘Gemini’ would have sounded like without all the reverb and fuzzy production the church dictates. It might have sounded like something light and sunny you would hear on the radio in the summer of ’85 by bands called the Pale fountains or the Railway Children. And yes, there’s definitely something Smithy in there. It’s not so much a Johnny Marr thing as it is a Mike Joyce thing, the way the bass guitar is all over the place doing it’s own little song within a song (I used to love playing along with Joyce on There is a light that never goes out, making the neighbours wanting to punch out mine).
That playful bass guitar is the one feature that comes across better live than on the album. Then again, I have only been able to listen to it through the noise of screaming kids on the backseat or on my ancient mobile I-pod apparatus, that according to the consumentenbond, has ‘the soundquality of a low-end clock radio’. On the whole Wild Nothing are a somewhat gloomy bunch on stage, with Jack Tatum radiating just a little bit more sadness than the three members of his support band. Tatum doesn’t own a particularly appealing voice and when he tries to get more volume out of it I am, once more, reminded of the sounds coming from the backseat of our car just before I pull over and plant at least one of the little hoodlums between the sunflowers, before driving off again.
Back in the Paradiso the mood lightens only for a few seconds when one of Tatum’s guitar strings breaks and after hesitating for a while he finally picks up the courage to borrow one of the guitars already on stage for the next band who don’t even have the common decency to watch their colleagues play. ‘Just say I was gentle’ he asks the audience, before setting in the wonderful ‘Chinatown’, with a grinding Peter Hook-bass line that is, indeed, impossible to play when missing a string. Then the concert is over and I decide that Wild Nothing makes me sad for the same reason Ajax does: it’s not the dejection, it’s those sparkles of hope that lie beneath and keep us locked in their lure.