The new album from Wild Nothing, Indigo, out Friday on Captured Tracks, is a marvelous thing. And, frankly, in small doses it seems one of the best records of 2018 so far.
Numbers here like "Letting Go" and "Oscillation" swing past a listener in a blur of keyboard figures that bring to mind the peak years of O.M.D. and New Order, even as slower tracks here ("Partners in Motion", "Wheel of Misfortune") conjure up melodies that make a listener think of stuff like China Crisis and The Associates. To name-drop those earlier acts is probably the easiest way to flatter Jack Tatum, the guy behind Wild Nothing, as it's clear that he is happy to wear his influences on his sleeve, even as portions of this long-player suggest an approach that brings to mind what Dave Depper did on his solo album last year. Still, for every part of this that sounds a bit like Prefab Sprout, or even The Wild Swans ("Through Windows"), there's lots here that suggests other paths, like album closer "Bend", all down-tempo shifting rendered divine.
In 2018, electro-pop rarely offers up something this accessible, catchy, and endearing. For every instance here that harks back to something from the Reagan years, there's still enough at work in Tatum's melodies and hooks to charm listeners unfamiliar with the rich history of New Wave he's drawing from.
Indigo is out on Friday via Captured Tracks.
[Photo: Cara Robbins]