Fire Note Says: Wild Nothing increase the synths on the Empty Estate EP.
Album Review: The best thing about an EP is that you can pretty much do anything you want and get away with it. Jack Tatum’s Wild Nothing has already had two gleaming hailed albums with Gemini (2010) and Nocturne (2012) so having an outlet like Empty Estate is a great idea for his creative mind. I will tell you up front that Empty Estate does not equal the quality of the previous long players but it is a fun laid back synth ride.
The opening “The Body In Rainfall” is a bright kick off that has this step up, step down synth beat to it and a catchy low level bass line which all works well together as Tatum’s vocals float the lyrics by with a very Belle & Sebastian type delivery complete with harmonized vocals. The crescendo effect that introduces you to “Ocean Repeating (Big-Eyed Girl)” has a bit darker edge to it with the distinct big synth keys playing loud and clear. This song would just come across as OK except that near the last third of the track there is an incredible mixing of layered vocals that has a very psychedelic vibe to it that takes the song to another level before it ends with its big sing along chorus. The other vocal tracks here have the same tone with slightly different tempos but overall keep the EP consistent.
Empty Estate goes astray with its two instrumentals, “On Guyot” and closer “Hachiko”. “On Guyot” runs nearly six minutes and brings a more spacey type keyboard that goes on way too long while “Hachiko” is a more shoegaze new age type of track that takes the ep out. Neither track add any benefit to the EP and honestly Tatum would have been better to just leave them off and stick with the 5 stronger tracks.
It will be interesting what direction Wild Nothing takes for album number three as Empty Estate expanded on Nocturne’s 80’s styled keyboards by pushing them to the forefront. There is a chance that this is the extreme that Tatum wanted to take here and his next outing might be completely different (fingers crossed). Regardless of where Wild Nothing go next, Empty Estate is a worthy listen for fans. I think new people to Wild Nothing could start here but it would be more rewarding for them to hear how Tatum got to this place and start from the beginning. Empty Estate won’t change lives but once again showcases a slightly different angle to Wild Nothing that in the end satisfies the ear.
Key Tracks: “Ocean Repeating (Big-Eyed Girl)”, “A Dancing Shell”, “Ride”
Artists With Similar Fire: Twin Shadow / Ra Ra Riot / DIIV
Wild Nothing Website
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Captured Tracks Records
-Reviewed by Christopher Anthony