Wild Cub – Youth

written by: January 23, 2014
Album-art-for-Youth-by-Wild-Cub Release Date: January 21, 2014


It’s always unfortunate when a band has skill, but is unable to reach its full potential due to lack of press. For most, this leads to a short-lived career with little success, but in the case of the Nashville indie electro-pop group Wild Cub, they’re getting a second chance.

Although the band received some attention following its 2012 debut LP Youth, even snagging the title of one of the “12 Acts To Watch” at the 2012 CMJ Music Marathon, the album had a small independent release that somewhat impeded its potential for success.

Now, a little more than a year after its release, Youth is getting a proper re-release via Mom + Pop with two new bonus tracks, and it’s going to make some waves.

Wild Cub stirred up a lot of talk in the electro-pop scene with its spacey, intricate tracks. Having five members plays well in its favor, allowing for a fuller sound with more complex subtleties that complement Keegan DeWitt’s droning, mellow vocals.

It’s nice to see some fresh music getting attention in a typically cookie-cutter genre.

Much of the electro-pop scene sounds overused and repetitive, but Youth features some great instrumentals and quality songwriting.

Take Wild Cub’s popular single “Thunder Clatter,” which features a bouncy guitar riff and sincere lyrics about the love of DeWitt’s life. Set to a playful melody, he sings of a woman who catches his eye, “I hear it all in the center of my heart/You’re the love of my life.”

Just like every track on Youth, it is a danceable, funky song that would fit right in at a party or club. What sets the album apart, though, is the group’s masterful balance between fun, energetic elements and lots of experimentation that makes the music enjoyable in a quieter setting as well.

Though “Thunder Clatter” is the most popular song on Youth, it’s nowhere near the best. While most of the album sticks safely to that same buoyant atmosphere, there are occasions when Wild Cub strays away from it, and the outcome is always preferable.

“Hidden In The Night” is a bit softer, but still has an upbeat feel; it sounds like it should be the soundtrack to a steamy make out scene in an ’80s movie. This is by far one of the best tracks on the record, mainly due to the killer guitar riff and incredible solo—features that are somewhat muted on the rest of the album.

On “Hidden In The Night,” the groovy guitar work is at the forefront, which is one of the big sellers for this album, seeing as most electro-pop is heavy on the electronic instruments. But even on tracks where the guitar is less prominent, it noticeably raises the caliber of the music.

Other notable tracks include the elaborate “Straight No Turns;” the solemn, violin-heavy “Streetlights;” and the dreamy ballad “The Water,” all of which see Wild Cub pulling slightly away from its characteristic party sound.

Both of the bonus tracks are worthy of attention as well, channeling the same energy that drives the rest of the album, but tweaking it to show off more songwriting chops.

And since they were written after the album’s initial release, they are a good indication of what Wild Cub will sound like in the years to come.

“Blacktide” is passionate and bold, showcasing some of DeWitt’s new, more vivacious vocal approach, while “Lies” is relentlessly fast from the start, bringing some life to the increasingly sedated end of the album.

While Youth is good for what it is, it needs to be taken with a grain of salt. It’s hard to come across groundbreaking material in the electro-pop genre, which is mainly intended to entertain and play as background music for parties, but Youth is a solid album when you take this into account.

Based on the new bonus tracks, Wild Cub will only get better from here on out. Let’s hope this re-release gives the band the boost it needs to keep the party going.

Wild Cub – Youth tracklist:

  1. “Shapeless”
  2. “Color”
  3. “Thunder Clatter”
  4. “Straight No Turns”
  5. “Wishing Well”
  6. “The Water”
  7. “Drive”
  8. “Hidden In The Night”
  9. “Jonti”
  10. “Wild Light”
  11. “Summer Fires / Hidden Spells”
  12. “Streetlights”
  13. “Windows”
  14. “Blacktide”
  15. “Lies”