Jack Tatum began recording under the pseudonym Wild Nothing in summer of 2009, was signed to Captured Tracks that year and it was all up from there. After its cornucopia of critical praise, Wild Nothing’s debut album Gemini was always going to be a tough act to follow. The album appeared intensely personal due to it’s stripped back sound. Now, in comparison, having a full band, Wild Nothing’s sound is more luxurious. Nocturne paints a richer picture with an expansive range of instrumental layers creating a more polished sound.
The opening track ‘Shadow’ is summery and upbeat, using drums, guitar and violin in to emulate a Northern Soul style sound. The strings are really allowed to take prominence, which makes this a standout track of the album. Tatum’s vocal is endearing and etherial and it is this combination that creates Wild Nothing’s own brand of indie dream-pop to which so many have become fond.
If ‘Shadow’ is the summer of the album ‘Through the Grass’ is the winter, the vocal evolving from etherial to eery. The arrangement is delicate yet complex and the lyrics introspective. Following this, ‘Only Heather’ is like the melting of the snow, a time lapse shot as it recedes and crocuses and snowdrops pierce through the sodden earth, reaching up towards the light.
The album is a delight, despite becoming slightly formulaic towards the second half. The intro of ‘The Blue Dress’ alludes to a change of pace with a slow 80s style guitar riff in place of high-hat crescendos and an indie beat. However, this change isn’t fully enforced and the track that follows does not really break the mold from the rest of the album.
That said, there are some fantastic individual tracks, however when all placed together they are in danger of becoming a bit repetitive. Aside from this criticism Wild Nothing have produced an album which is lyrically authentic while successfully maintaining an air of the fantastical. To follow the success of Gemini, the sound is full bodied and lavish in comparison and nothing is lost with this change. With Nocturne Tatum continues to produce twinkling indie pop which is indubitably enjoyable.
Words: Amelia Steele