Wild Nothing - Empty Estate

A laid-back, well-considered and joyous effort to swing you through the summer months.

Label: Bella Union

Rating: 7

Wild Nothing’s, or rather the genre-defying one-man whizz behind it, Jack Tatum’s, new seven-track EP ‘Empty Estate’ washes over you whilst at the same time forcing you to pay attention to the magic he’s making; prepare for plenty of moronic, involuntary head-nodding and eye-closing.

In opener ‘The Body In Rainfall’, Tatum combines predictable chord progressions and a bumbling beat with cheerful electronics and some surprisingly intimate lyrics. And this is really where Wild Nothing’s charm lies: in his ability to fuse musical styles and focus to create something multi-faceted and consistently engaging. Initially unremarkable, thirty seconds of proper listening reveals something much better than first impressions would have had you think.

‘Ocean Repeating (Big-Eyed Girl)’ does what it says it will, and too much. Its thick, heady, simplistic melody begs comparisons to M83; it’s just a bit more predictable. Sitting side by side with some really exciting songs, it fails to cling to the high bar that Tatum has set elsewhere. This track segues seamlessly into ‘On Guyot’, a dreamy cushion of a song that sounds a bit like someone playing a Game Boy whilst leaning on an accordion, in a good way.

The track that really stands out is ‘Ride’. It’s one of those songs that sounds familiar on a first listen, where you’re sure you know what’s about to happen next, but then what actually happens next is better than what you’d imagined. It’s a fast-paced toe-tapper, the perfect accompaniment to a spinning video of the Milky Way. It’s a joy from start to finish; it’s just really good songwriting.

Another highlight is ‘A Dancing Shell’. It’s a beautifully soft, relaxed song with a cracking bass line and the typically fitting mix of playful instrumentation and thoughtful lyrics. ‘Empty Estate’ is a great listen, where experimentation is handled with admirable subtlety and each track delivers immense instrumental detail and care. A laid-back, well-considered and joyous effort to swing you through the summer months.