Wild Nothing – Nocturne

written by: August 24, 2012
Release Date: August 28th, 2012


Wild Nothing has an active imagination and a thoughtful execution of their dreams.  The title Nocturne livens all forms of nighttime blues, not lighting the narrative of a debaucherous night out but harrowing the sense of long evenings full of thought and contemplation. This isn’t the kind of nocturne we expected to hear about.

The song’s title track captures this feeling most effectively off the bat. “Nocturne” speaks of becoming lost in dark thoughts. It’s hard to tell what it achieves artistically, though. The feeling is uncertain.

Nocturne as an album is rock steady though, never overpowering or overwhelming, nor asking too much of its listeners because it’s easy to pay attention to and easy to get lost. It’s not hard to come away from feeling full, though, because the rough content filling the album is incredibly thick. A lot of effort was clearly placed into the construction of this album, and at many moments, it’s nothing short of amazing.

It feeds off its own energy as a project at large, each song being funded by the connection with the others surrounding it.

Lead song “Shadow” really sets the mood with the right pace for the calming mood and a mid-tempo chorus, only to be followed by the equally down “Midnight Song,” though the latter picks up the pace to accompany a more thoughtful narrative.

It’s an expressive record, telling of trials and tribulations rather than what fans might have anticipated with a fun-filled scene of stories in the evening.But whatever compelled musician and writer Jack Tatum to record his nightly thoughts was a great instinct, because his diaries are quite interesting to follow.

Here, Wild Nothing doesn’t make you jump from your seat or even motivate the listener to want to see them live. It’s an at-home kind of record, well made and delicately processed but meant for the listener to enjoy at their own will and circumstance. Nocturne asks us to listen rather than to sing along, which is fine, and for some, a nice change. But the contrary argument is that Nocturne is boring and limp. This is a judgment call you’re just going to have to make for yourself.

Not really until “Paradise” after Nocturne’s halfway point does Wild Nothing show they like to have a good time. Chiming with a happy guitar riff reminiscent of something from a John Hughes film and visionary synth sounds in the song’s background, the song sails to a wonderfully euphoric atmosphere.

Perhaps Wild Nothing concentrated too much on the task at hand when making Nocturne, disregarding the larger picture and focusing on the album’s artistic success. It’s a bit too serious and meditative, forgetting to have fun with it and loosen up. It’s contemplative and concise just as much as it is lonely and sorrowful. This is why Nocturne is part exemplary and part disappointment, a troublesome combination.

This isn’t to say the deeper moments on this new album aren’t short of wonderful. It’s just Wild Nothing’s Jack Tatum feels sorry for himself, and though the loneliness can be shared, the pity is a bit discouraging.

Wild Nothing – Nocturne tracklist:

  1. “Shadow”
  2. “Midnight Song”
  3. “Nocturne”
  4. “Through the Glass”
  5. “Only Heather”
  6. “This Chain Won’t Break”
  7. “Disappear Always”
  8. “Paradise”
  9. “Counting Days”
  10. “The Blue Dress”
  11. “Rheya”