Review

Wild Nothing

Hold

Captured Tracks • 2023

Jack Tatum aka Wild Nothing says in the press release for his new LP »Hold« that he has been working on this record for a long time and is now »both excited and apprehensive that it is about to see the light of day«. This is not surprising, as it is the first album he has produced himself since his 2010 début »Gemini« and the first in five years. In the meantime, he has become a father and has continued to grow as a songwriter. New doubts and fears join old ones and are bluntly expressed. The funky »Basement El Dorado«, for example, longs for a better world with the lyrics: »I’d like to think there’s some reason for all this suffering/I’d like to believe in a life with a Disney ending«. Here and there, there is talk of inner resistance, while the smooth beats and soft, breathy vocals take some of the gravity out of the melancholy mood.

Peter Gabriel and 1980s shoegaze are among Tatum’s inspirations. Rocky guitar riffs and the retro veil that overlays all the songs confirm these references. In between, quieter tones are struck with instrumental pieces and spherical vocals. The tongue-in-cheek 80s number »Suburban Solutions« is refreshing, an anti-jingle about the burdens of everyday life and probably the album’s greatest moment in not taking itself too seriously. At the end, Tatum makes a big promise to his young son with »Pulling Down the Moon (Before You)« and confesses: »Before you I was so certain I knew everything/Before you I thought only of myself«. A melancholy ending, in keeping with the usual Wild Nothing style of world-weariness and self-discovery.