Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN - 21/4
Written by: TL on 08/04/2017 13:10:47
NYC-based indie rockers Wild Pink, whom we last touched base with on the 2015 EP "The Good Life" have sized up this year and made their first full length album, "Wild Pink", which was released little over a month ago. On it the band has mellowed out a bit, playing a reserved, soft indie rock - the kind of contemplative stuff you'd expect to hear ringing in the background of a Michael Cera movie, with soft male vocals that remind you of Simon And Garfunkel. And while on a passing listen it can seem a bit too floaty to take root, closer inspection actually reveals some potential with the band.
The atmosphere is quite immersive once you pay attention, with a sense of downplayed romanticism and restlessness soaking you as the listener, while the lyricism calmly guides you through a number of images that pokes your imagination and makes you want to follow their considerations, trying to make sense of life. You're driven past a vigil for a kid who died too young, you're coming down from psychotropics in the shadow of World Trade', you hang a picture on your wall that says "PMA" and you keep your gun loaded with the safety off, just in case - all the while existential questions of "what am I actually doing and why?" lingering unspoken in the background.
"Wild Pink" 's strength is that it places you in the centre of those images, and makes you wonder about the holes in the stories that the band leave open. That and the fact that while the music is very mellow and downplayed, it has a nice sense of direction to it, allowing itself to get noisy here and there, and you sense that it's on the verge of breaking into a wider heartland rock romanticism in some places - see the Titus Andronicus-ish guitar that opens "Nothing To Show" for instance - kept in check, however, with typical indie reservation.
On one hand, this is a plus, because that tension keeps things interesting, but at the same time, the record's main weakness is that it's not great at building things into little culminations that your listens can rally around. There's a part in "Wizard Of Loneliness" where the band channels something a bit like Band Of Horses' ceremoniousness, singing "Calm down, put your phone down" with a clear sense of importance to the refrain, but it comes a bit out of nowhere and then simply fades, giving you an example of something the band's songs could generally need a bit more of, to anchor things more.
The album is reminiscent of Into It. Over It. and a bit of Sun Kil Moon, in that sense - the point is the narratives and the atmosphere, and while the instrumentation subtly lends the words energy that helps charge them with the right measures of emotion, it doesn't so much provide memorable melodies or different nuances to help things stand apart more. It makes for an album you'll likely remember for posteriority as one you thought was quite nice, but you have trouble recalling songs from it. And improving this seems like a logical next step for Wild Pink on the road to further realising their potential.
Download: Wizard Of Loneliness, Great Apes
For The Fans Of: Into It. Over It., Sun Kil Moon, Band Of Horses
Release date 24.02.2017
Tiny Engines / Bear Music