Release Date: Aug 28, 2012
Record label: Captured Tracks
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Pop, New Wave/Post-Punk Revival, Noise Pop
With Nocturne, songwriter Jack Tatum has developed both in the studio and on the page. There’s the funk-inspired off-rhythms of “Paradise,” the impatient staccato on “Counting Days” and the vintage wash in “Nocturne” (one of the album’s many standout tracks). These are the improved techniques upon the catchy pop rhythms and self-aware lyrics that thrive on 2010’s Gemini, resulting in deeper melodies matched with deeper meanings.
"You want to know me? Well, what's to know?" asks Jack Tatum on the title track of Wild Nothing's Nocturne. The album's subtly addictive nature is such that only after a dozen listens did this anti-revelation strike me as its most revealing lyric. Tatum really does view himself as a facilitator. He drove that point home during our interview last month, debunking any attempts made in the past two years to classify him as a "personality." This seems self-defeating for a guy who works in a style of lovelorn, Anglophilic indie rock that never goes in style because it never really goes out of style, and tends to favor extreme recluses or extroverts for its breakout artists.
Wild NothingNocturne[Captured Tracks; 2012]By Rob Hakimian; September 11, 2012Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGTweetDespite the moniker that suggests a band, Wild Nothing’s music is of a kind that could have only been created by a singular mind. In this case, that mind belongs to Virginia native Jack Tatum. His debut album Gemini was a collection of songs written around personal feelings, lone desires and regular departures into dreams.
What is it about the presence of higher production values, tighter songwriting, and a little discretion in the way of smeary effects that always seems to say “sophomore slump” to some people? These qualities stand out to me when comparing Gemini to Wild Nothing’s new album Nocturne, but I have a hard time seeing this as negative. Gemini came around at the right time, just a hair later than swaths of similar bands, sufficiently obscure at the time and broadly representative of the trend as a whole that Wild Nothing was able to ride the album to the top of year-end lists. Jack Tatum said in an interview with Pitchfork, “At first, it shot up to a point that I totally wasn’t ready for — it was like an exponential weed.
Jack Tatum, aka Wild Nothing, released 2010's Gemini while wrapping up his college degree at age 21. It quickly became the Little Album That Could, earning wide Internet praise for its unabashedly '80s post-punk, dream pop, and C86-leaning tunes (not to mention that striking/creepy cover art). Two years later, he's obligated by all of rock history to churn out a "mature" follow-up full-length, informed by a few years of being on the road eating up life's contradictions.
Wild Nothing's excellent debut album Gemini had a homemade, slightly wonky feel that gave Jack Tatum's take on '80s new wave pop a human touch. (Also, it included the brilliant single "Summer Holiday.") For the follow-up Nocturne, Tatum headed to the Rare Book Room to work with producer Nicolas Vernhes, and together the two crafted an album that takes Wild Nothing's sound out of the bedroom, dresses it in fancy clothing, and manages to be just as impressive. The overall sound of the album is much more layered and smooth; Tatum's bathed-in-warm-reverb voice is even lower in the mix, the guitars chime and ring but are rarely spiky, and the keyboards are more atmospheric than before.
There are at least a hundred different ways you can hear the seams of the night creep into Wild Nothing’s second full-length, Nocturne. Aside from the obvious title reference, the moniker that’s often given to describe Wild Nothing’s music, “dream pop”, is a worthy indicator, as well. Normally, I eschew faceless descriptors such as those, but I’m hard pressed to come up with a better or more accurate label for the deep, synth-heavy tunes that comprise Nocturne’s delicate 45 minutes.
Upon first listen, Wild Nothing’s sophomore effort, Nocturne, sounds an awful lot like his 2010 debut, Gemini. This isn’t much of a shock, considering the genre of music that the young bedroom popper creates—it’s difficult to expound on hazy ‘80s new-wave revival—but after a few more spins, it is clear that Jack Tatum’s sound has progressed, though subtly. Gemini was Tatum’s chance to prove to the world that though his music paid homage to the greats of two decades past, he was a sound craftsman and songsmith.
Wild Nothing brainiac Jack Tatum nailed a solid formula with his project’s debut effort Gemini. With Nocturne, he takes his tiny, colorful hammer to create little cavities and imperfections that demand time spent with it. This record has the same instant dream pop appeal Real Estate’s Days boasted upon first listen. Make no mistake, it’s mostly about love—specifically (and oh God I hate this phrase) summer love.
When Jack Tatum emerged under the pseudonym Wild Nothing in the summer of 2010 with the glorious Gemini, the wave of praise trailing in its wake ensured the record would feature high on many end of year lists. With such an outpouring of critical acclaim come many pitfalls, the most obvious being whether or not the follow-up can live up to the standards set by its predecessor. As an introductory statement of Tatum and Wild Nothing's intent, Gemini's key facet was its deeply personal touch.
Taking up the mantle of his wonderful debut ‘Gemini’, Virginia-born Jack Tatum’s second LP continues along its predecessor’s gauzy trajectory. All reverb-ridden, dreampop haziness and washed-out vocals, it’s an album that favours evolution over revolution. This is fine. The title track whips up more than a whiff of the Fleetwood Macs with its dappled guitar lines and coos of “Ooh, you can have me”, and the likes of opener ‘Shadow’ or ‘This Chain Won’t Break’ tread the shimmering, ’80s-inflected path beloved of Twin Shadow and the like.
WILD NOTHING play the Great Hall September 18. See listing. Rating: NNN In 2010, Wild Nothing's Gemini album came out of nowhere to provide the summer soundtrack 80s nostalgiaphiles had been waiting for. On its follow-up, Jack Tatum makes the obvious progression and takes his one-man bedroom project into the studio, beefing up his genteel jangle with live drumming and electronic instrumentation.
The dream pop genre has recently garnered quite a name for mediocrity lately. While some bands have released provocative and progressive takes on the reverb-heavy style, many have fallen into the pitfall of droning vocals, uninspired melodies, and, worst of all, production that simply washes out all traces of personality. Wild Nothing, moniker for songwriter Jack Tatum, could be considered one of the flagships for the former category.
Two years ago, Jack Tatum released Gemini, his first album under the Wild Nothing moniker, and turned heads of the entire indie rock world. We hypothesized that Tatum was “too young to mine the ’80s for the rest of his life”, yet Wild Nothing’s sophomore effort, Nocturne, easily lends itself to a bevy of ’80s music descriptions. When I went back to my stream-of-consciousness first listen notes, I found them full of 25-year-old cultural references: The title track “sounds like something out of a John Hughes film”; “Through the Grass” has “a Peter Gabriel ‘Biko’ type feel, but without the politics”; “Paradise” “almost starts off like ‘Time After Time'”; and “The Blue Dress” “starts to sound a little like an outtake from a Tangerine Dream session”.
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.
On “Nocturne,” the sophomore LP from Virginia dream-pop project Wild Nothing, bandleader Jack Tatum at times seems fixated on darkness. But that doesn’t stop the songs from glistening with a melancholy polish. Tatum sends lightheaded melodies adrift on a current of shimmering guitar as he calls out to shrouded lovers, at once lovesick and love-high.
When it comes to surprise twists, dream pop carries about as many as a film adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel. Much in the same way that you expect to see a kiss scene in the rain accompanied by a soaring, melodramatic crescendo in those movies, when you sit down to listen to an album described using the words “cloud,” “dream” or “chill,” you can probably predict what’s going to come out of your speakers before you even press play: gauzy guitars, sleepy vocals, melodies as simple and inoffensive as vanilla ice cream. It’s predictable—easy on the ears but predictable.So when Gemini, Wild Nothing’s 2010 debut, came along, it was easy to write it off as a good dream-pop album but nothing that new or unusual.
"The world is collapsing around our ears / I switch on the radio," sang R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe, way back in 1991, when in fact, we had at least another 15 years of lovely housing bubble to enjoy. Most of the acts associated with the late '00s resurgence in C86-cribbing dream pop are right now playing that game: turning inwards while the world gets scary, choosing to raid their record collections and run with the stuff that makes them happy, to sing about and even celebrate romantic turbulence and childish dreams rather than howl into the massive abyss. Either a major capitulation to the forces of darkness, or a restatement of the point of pop - it depends on your take.
A smart and sophisticated album existing in its own pop moment. Jude Clarke 2012 Still in his early 20s, Wild Nothing’s Jack Tatum already has one acclaimed album in his back catalogue, in the form of his 2010 debut Gemini. A home-recorded word-of-mouth hit, its appealing taken on the sounds of the 1980s is now consolidated in this second release, as the songwriter further expands on his palette of laid-back moods and downbeat grooves.
Two years ago, Jack Tatum rocketed to the top of the contemporary indie-rock pile with Wild Nothing's retro-minded debut, Gemini. After much speculation as to what could follow such a charming, wistful reflection on '80s dream-pop, Nocturne is released; it's a confident pastel portrait of teenage longing and restless, lovelorn nights. The album still trades in Tatum's hallmark disconnected vocals, distorted staccato guitars and gated reverb snares, making for a potent, intoxicating whole, while shunning some of Gemini's more passive elements.