The Wild Stares
Automatic Writing Machine
How have the Wild Stares existed under the radar for so long? Maybe it was the moving? Forming in Boston, moving to Europe, then finally settling in LA, the band has apparently been releasing albums and touring since the ’90s. If these albums are as compelling as Automatic Writing Machine, it’s time to start exploring.
Opening with “See the Time,” a glorious wave of shoegaze sound, Automatic Writing Machine veers between several different sounds and textures, which all manage to congeal nicely into a whole. Sometimes recalling Echo and the Bunnymen playing Television, like on “Dancing on the Sill,” sometimes sounding like frentic mid ’70s art-punk weirdos the Girls on “Watermelon Alcatraz,” the Wild Stares have an eclectic sound with enough identity to keep it from sounding like a compilation. This all comes together on “Obsidean” a soaring, aching melancholy epic with layered strings that in a fairer world, would be all over the radio.
While not sounding dated or tied specifically to any one sound or era, there is a sense of outsiderdom and unforced weirdness reminiscent of the best of ’90s indie rock – that ‘trying anything, throwing all our influences in a pot’ spirit that would result in bands riding that thin line between a beautiful mess or a wide-ranging masterpiece.
If the Wild Stare’s earlier albums are anywhere near as interesting and wide-ranging as Automatic Writing Machine, there’s a gold mine of eclectic sounds out there just waiting to be discovered.