Album Review: Wild Nothing – Nocturne

Jack Tatum’s project Wild Nothing’s new album Nocturne invokes darkness, the night and the moon with frequency. It’s an apt muse, since the album often sounds like luminous orbs reflecting light in the darkness. Low, dark synths ride under flashes of bright guitar notes and shimmering production. Tatum’s voice is a wash of starlight, echoing from far away.

Though the first track is called “Shadow,” it opens the album on one of its brightest melodies and arrangements. The song was one of Nocturne’s singles. Ironically, the other single, “Paradise,” which you might expect to be sunnier, employs darker synth notes as Tatum intones, “Love is paradise,” in a lower register. “Paradise” is one of the album’s highest points.

However, the entire album delivers so consistently that picking out individual summits proves elusive. I can attest that the breakdown of the title-track and the chorus of “This Chain Won’t Break” both lodge in my mind, and I find myself whistling them all day long. For anyone who doubted it was possible, Tatum’s second album is every bit as good as Gemini, probably better.

Tatum’s new-wave brings us kids of the 80s back to memories deeply engrained in our consciousness, but somehow remains entirely present and fresh. I’m entranced to the very last track, “Rheya,” which reminds me of moonlight glinting on a gently undulating lake surface at midnight. When I excitedly relay these descriptions to my girlfriend as I write she shoots me a puzzled look. “I don’t know what that sounds like,” she says. Well, just listen.

About author
Bryan Parker is a writer and photographer living and working in Austin, TX. He is the founder of blog Pop Press International and print journal True Sincerity and recently released his first book, a volume on Beat Happening in the 33 1/3 series.

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