After enchanting listeners with their brand of starry-eyed, 80s nostalgia on Gemini and Nocturne, Wild Nothing enter uncharted new territory on the Empty Estate EP. No longer are Wild Nothing your one-stop shop for hazy, lazy dreamscape sounds– at least, not all of them. On Empty Estate, Jack Tatum and the gang inject much-needed life and color into their music, reviving the dream-pop genre that’s since become cluttered with copycats and all-too similar styles.
Wild Nothing first grabbed our attention in 2009 with a cover of Kate Bush’s “Cloudbusting,” later releasing two critically acclaimed records in a row. Within the first seconds of Empty Estate opener “The Body in Rainfall,” though, it’s clear the band are headed in a new direction. The melodic, bold track is accented with crackling guitars and swaying synths, immediately sweeping us up into its anthemic arms. Similarly, many other songs on the seven-track Empty Estate EP are highlighted by an adventurous, driving synth riff. Breaking news: You can actually move to the new Wild Nothing release! Lace up those dancing shoes, kids.
That’s especially the case with the latter half of Empty Estate, like the lost 80s movie theme “Data World,” a track that sounds like a coming-of-age tale spun among a bed of dreamy synth clouds; the glorious middle section recalls the feeling of sunny skies re-opening after a stormy rain. “A Dancing Shell” is, like its name suggests, a straight-up dance number– and a pretty good one, at that. A few tracks prior lies the completely instrumental “On Guyot,” a murky, unknown trek through what could be the most experimental style Wild Nothing have ever adopted.
Contrary to its name, the Empty Estate EP isn’t devoid of much; rich, elegant, and light, it represents a bold new beginning for a great, (not so) old band. The EP’s send-off is the quiet, peaceful “Hachiko,” which leaves us dreaming of what’s to come. More so now than ever before, Wild Nothing have given us a lot to look forward to.
3.5 / 5 bars