Album Review: Wild Nothing – Life Of Pause

Life Of Pause

life of pauseReleased 19th February 2016

Words: Sion Ford

Under the guise of Wild Nothing, Jake Tatum has earned himself a reputation as an innovator of sorts. Known for bringing a distinctively different sound to his songwriting, the production of Wild Nothing’s releases are of a quality that most people aspire to, and this individuality is especially noticeable on his third record, Life of Pause. Due for release on the 19th of February via the critically-acclaimed Bella Union record label, Life for Pause is an album that will no doubt have many reviewers and critics purring.

 

Personally, the opening track of any album is one of the most important – it needs to set out a statement for the rest of the record and pretty much determines my opinion of an album from the off (perhaps that’s not necessarily the most composed way of doing things, but it’s certainly instinctive). To say that I’m keen for this record to come out for public consumption then is to say that Reichpop, the opening track for this album, is a great success. Sporting an 80s sounding jungle feel, it’s a lively and upbeat beginning to the record – one that will no doubt feature in a number of “best of 2016” playlists come the end of the year.

 

What an album like this can do is restore faith that the genre of pop music isn’t completely lost to the ‘mainstream’. Not to preach from the proverbial soapbox, but it’s a genre of music that has been taken over by major record labels and the words “pop music” now will send a shiver down the spine of most people. Wild Nothing however have succeeded in bringing back some belief that all’s not lost – with songs like Lady Blue and A Woman’s Wisdom, there’s a lot to shout about and for once in a long while it’s only positive.

 

For those who like their music to sound like it belongs on the soundtrack of a 1980s film, there’s Japanese Alice, a thumping record that is as nostalgic in its ways as the underlying feel of this record. Following it up is the title track of the record, a song that sounds as though it’s about to move through the clichés of a song from that era, but ends up proving to be one of the more engaging songs on the album – when the chorus hits, you can’t help but want to move to it. This is the type of song that deserves to have its own starring moment as part of the soundtrack to some indie film, it’s a song that will likely become a fan favourite for live performances and roundly fits the bill as the title track of the album.

 

It’s not uncommon for the second half of albums to drop off in intensity and lose the attention of the listener, but that’s not the case with Life of Pause – from the title track onwards until the end of the record, there’s a number of songs that mark themselves out as special: the slightly psychedelic Alien, and Adore which has its own cosmic soundscape. Of all the songs in the second half of the record though, the stand out is Whenever I – starting off as though it was an instrumental constructed by the great Pete Rock himself, it then swaggers into a simultaneously calming and dramatic song it was born to be.

 

By his own account, this record is one that Jake Tatum considers to be his most mature body of work yet and that tells across the eleven songs that make up Life of Pause. It is composed, refined and stylish; pretty much what any great album should be.

 

 

 

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