Listen to this track by returning champions of epic-scale indie rock Wildlife. It’s “Bad Dream” as taken from the band’s second record On The Heart, just released this past Tuesday, March 5, 2013.
The new record is their full-length follow up to 2010’s Strike Hard, Young Diamond, which I had the pleasure of reviewing when it came out, specifically their song “Move To The City’, which dealt with big themes, and expresses them in ambitious musical terms.
And now I have a similar pleasure with this song on this superlative record that is built upon that earlier release, which dealt with formative feelings, and of being naive in a big world. This new record is about coming to terms with the fragility of one’s own heart, and growing up in spite of it. This emphasis on thematic and stylistic continuity is what bands who are building momentum of all kinds do when they’re building a lasting body of work.
In this case, they’ve been building it with the help of producer Peter Katis (The National, Frightened Rabbit). During the recording process, they spent time in the producer’s home, eating soup, taking care of cats, and making post-punk flavoured rock music to be appreciated on a grand-scale, of which “Bad Dream” is a highlight.
Trading on a Johnny Marr-like rhythm that kicks the song off, it starts with the classic, Springsteen-eqsue “this is the story of two lovers…”. This is a love story as remembered after many rivers have been crossed, with many mountains climbed. This song is filled with longing, and even deeper regret. It’s love as viewed in retrospect, from eyes that have grown older if not wiser. It is the sound of love as experienced by the pristine hearts of youth as an all-encompassing, irresistible force. But, it’s sung out by a voice that embodies the immovable object of dinted maturity.
Musically, this song lives in a hyper-post punk 21st century spectrum, with guitars-bass-drums filled in with electronic textures to unify the whole. With that mix, there’s a lot of room for subtlety to balance the anthemic drive found here. Maybe the best example of that is the single bass synth line that lingers after the other instruments have put the chairs on the tables and turned out the lights. Like a memory of a painful relationship, it hangs around longer than you expected.
For more information about the band’s two releases so far, investigate the Wildlife Bandcamp page.
And be sure too to take a look at the band’s video for their song “Born To Ruin”, as another example of the quality of the new record.