It’s becoming increasingly necessary to be leery of the indie rock hype machine. There are very few albums that actually live up to the press they receive. I avoided Wilderness’s debut album for a couple months precisely for this reason. But surprisingly, it’s even better than I’d been led to believe.

While the sweaty gestation of most newborn music happens quickly, this band reportedly took three years to fine tune this disc before they felt comfortable releasing it. Far from weighing down the album with an overabundance of sound and technical flawlessness, Wilderness feels like it took that amount of time to distill the perfect amount of atmosphere. Think about it: when these guys first began work on these songs, Interpol was plumbing the depths of Joy Division on their darkwave debut. Wilderness pulls from the same post-punk influences, but spreads them over an imaginary pixilated countryside. In doing so, they reach the stratospheric highs of post-rock groups like Explosions in the Sky.

The real thrill of this album is the vocals. James Johnson’s garbled diction and deconstruction of grammar are fantastic. Singing lines and inverting the subject and the object in the following line he creates a lyrical ouroboros with his logic feeding off itself. He pays a poet’s tribute to nearly every phrase by introducing them with an ‘O.’

Wilderness might not grab attention as immediately as Arcade Fire or Interpol, but they’ve already left such a distinctive footprint in foreign territory that it’ll be hard to fill it until they record their next one. Let’s hope that they will be quicker about forging this pathway the second time around.

Jagjaguwar: www.jagjaguwar.com

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Metallica: The $24.95 Book
    Metallica: The $24.95 Book

    From an underground band that pioneered the thrash metal sound, to arguably the biggest rock act in the new millennium, Metallica has had a long and tumultuous history. Ben Apatoff scours a myriad of sources to catalog this history in his new book.

  • Araceli Lemos
    Araceli Lemos

    Shortly after AFI Fest 2021 wrapped, Generoso spoke at length with director, Araceli Lemos about her award-winning and potent feature debut, Holy Emy. Lemos’s film uses elements of body horror in her story about the exoticization of two Filipina sisters living in Greece and how that exploitation creates a distance between them.

  • Southern Accents 55
    Southern Accents 55

    A woofin’ good time with cuts from Hank Williams, Muddy Waters, Delta Moon and more from KMRD 96.9, Madrid, New Mexico!

  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

    Absurdism with a healthy dose of air conditioning.

  • Mixtape 172 :: My Old Bassist
    Mixtape 172 :: My Old Bassist

    Like pre-teens throwing every liquid into the kitchen blender and daring each other to drink the results, Woody and Jeremy fuse all manner of sounds legitimate and profane into some murky concoction that tastes surprisingly good.

  • Demons/Demons 2
    Demons/Demons 2

    Synapse Films reissues Lamberto Bava’s epic ’80s gore-filled movies Demons and Demons 2 in beautiful new editions.

  • Sylvie Courvoisier and Mary Halvorson
    Sylvie Courvoisier and Mary Halvorson

    Searching for the Disappearing Hour (Pyroclastic Records). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Payal Kapadia
    Payal Kapadia

    Earlier this year, director Payal Kapadia was awarded the Oeil d’or (Golden Eye) for best documentary at the 74th Cannes Film Festival for her debut feature, A Night of Knowing Nothing. Lily and Generoso interviewed Kapadia about her poignant film, which employs a hybrid-fiction technique to provide a personal view of the student protests that engulfed Indian colleges and universities during the previous decade.

  • Roger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella
    Roger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella

    A classic children’s tale re-imagined by America’s greatest composers.

  • Taraka

    Welcome to Paradise Lost (Rage Peace). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

From the Archives