While the darker, Joy Division-influenced eighties New Wave came back earlier this century/millennium in acts like Interpol (QRO live review) and Editors (QRO review), more recently it’s been the higher, pop-wash that’s been coming back and catching ears again – think of the neo-John Hughes Temper Trap (QRO live review) and Pains of Being Pure at Heart (QRO live review). And now comes Jack Tatum’s Wild Nothing, whose sophomore release Nocturne traffics particularly in the touchingly soft glow.
‘Glo-fi’ was used to describe Tatum’s debut full-length, Gemini (QRO review), and Nocturne certainly glows, but also does more. From the start with opener “Shadow” it manages to have a bright sound without necessarily a ‘bright’ feeling (just look at the song & album title…). Indeed, Nocturne is a band from a John Hughes soundtrack that’s gotten more mature and interested in loss – think Simple Minds’ “Waterfront”, as opposed to “Don’t You Forget About Me”. Yes, some of the pop-catch is lost, but it makes for a more meaningful record.
In place of that pop, Tatum employs not just atmospherics (“Through the Glass”) but also indietronica (“Paradise”) and even tropical (“Counting Days”), if an eighties tropical. The elements do help flavor Nocturne, though maybe a few too many are put in the penultimate “The Blue Dress”. But then the album closes with the eighties synth-loss of “Rheya” – you can almost picture the video with Tatum on a windswept beach under an overcast sky, pastel suit and Flock of Seagulls haircut.
Since the non-event that was Y2K, seemingly every music style has come back, from fifties garage to nineties alt-rock reunions. But on Nocturne, Wild Nothing does more than just revive a sound that’s already welcome back, but expands it as well.
MP3 Stream: “Shadow“