Wild Nothing - Nocturne

A gorgeous album of soundscapes.

Label: Bella Union

Rating: 9

Being far too much of a youngster to have experienced the 80’s first-hand means that while you can admire it, it’s still difficult to fully grasp the nostalgia woven throughout Wild Nothing’s debut ‘Gemini’. Playing musical hopscotch with the hazy wares of Pavement, the synth-peddling of Cocteau Twins and just about anyone in-between who can write a decent hook, ‘Gemini’ is an unabashed homage to the past. While Tatum’s seemingly insatiable appetite for all things dust-covered and retro is still fully apparent, this sophomore effort ‘Nocturne’ sees Tatum looking forward too, and establishing himself amongst his contemporaries.

This second album is no disappointment; swamped with an abundance of earworm hooks, there’s a wealth of musical goodies to keep everyone happy. The title track is a particularly high point with grooving melodies and, contrary to the night bird track name, the production is positively sun drenched. It wouldn’t, in fact, be a complete surprise if ‘Nocturne’ provided you with your daily intake of vitamin D – this is wholesome, homemade music fit for the summer.

Even without spending the latter years of the 20th century holed up in a university bed-sit making dreamy guitar music with lazily meandering melodies, it’s easy to detect those vibes hanging in fluffy little clouds and hovering over the entirety of ‘Nocturne’ – but even ignoring them completely, this record makes perfect sense. For every little nod to music bygone, there’s a hundred waves of acknowledgement to the likes of Deerhunter, Ariel Pink, and the experimentalism of Xiu Xiu, a certain familiarity that puts you at ease despite Tatums’ consistently inventive approach. Tatum has previously cited the Microphones ‘The Glow, Pt. 2’ as his favorite record of all time, and indeed, Tatum also shares Phil Elvrum’s meticulous ear for crafting listenable oddball pop. ‘Nocturne’ is not a copycat record, though; rather a fervent music fan drawing a very complicated dot-to-dot of everything that catches his attention. It sounds like a catastrophic mess before sitting down to listen, but stand back to look at the finished picture and it all makes effortless sense. This album seems settled into the present, finally content to live without a time machine. It doesn’t matter if you have no interest in decoding ‘Nocturne’’s musical genetics at all in fact – this is a gorgeous album of soundscapes that are able to stand up alone.