Hare and Hound – Birmingham 22/2/17
When Wild Nothing schmoozed their way onto the scene around 2009, there was widespread acclaim for a pioneering and retrospective sound which swept through indie rock, influencing a great many songwriters at the time. However, the once revolutionary sound has become increasingly saturated by a plethora of like-minded bands and the reinvention of 80’s dream pop is beginning to feel a little played, the genre being flogged not only to death but through purgatory and into the afterlife. However Wild Nothing are still flying the flag high, touring their 2016 offering Life of Pause, an album suffering somewhat from a lack of fresh perspective and ideology.
In terms of live sound, Wild Nothing are capable of creating impressively wholesome, vibrant music, their glimmering lead guitar and ethereal vocal lines intertwining perfectly, indicative of consummate performers who understand how to use the dazzling array of guitar pedals at their disposal to create not just a coherent and stirring recreation of their studio work but also go a little further, constructing a truly full-bodied live experience. The setlist is an all encompassing one, with work from their earlier albums also on display and it feels a little more like a best of… than a promo of their current accomplishments.
The problem with Wild Nothing is that as they trawl through songs from their 8 year career, there is little or no progression in their style or identity which allows them to grown or deviate with time. Although there is something to be admired for resolutely sticking to their guns in terms of band ethos, the formulaic nature of the music becomes quickly evident and begins to feel somewhat flabby and dated.
When bands like Wild Nothing come crashing onto the scene with fresh and raw ideas, it often has a knock on effect which dominos throughout the music industry. The band almost become a victim of their own success as although they set the trend, they quickly become engulfed in the homogenisation of the genre and when the industry moves on, they can be left with an overdone style which is hard to move on from. Wild Nothing are certainly of this ilk and you feel it may be high time they begin to think about new avenues to explore.
What is once considered revolutionary often becomes mainstream and in turn passé. If you’re left holding the baton when the music’s over, it’s time to look for a new way of playing the game.