Wild Nothing – Empty Estate EP

 

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To bring you quickly up-to-date; with the earnest and melodic lo-fi romanticism of 80’s pop, Jack Tatum has over time become a reliable source of strikingly consistent songwriting. 2010’s brilliant and acclaimed debut Gemini was followed by last year’s Nocturne where he made the definite step out of the bedroom into a full-blown recording studio. The two albums were bridged by Golden Haze, a trial-and-error type of EP focused on Tatum’s more experimental side. His latest EP Empty Estate follows the trend with seven new tracks to bridge the gap to whatever comes next.

The EP format seems to suit him well as a way of trying out new ideas without worrying too much about consistency. But then again these EP’s are an excellent place to find some of Tatum’s best compositions. Golden Haze gave us the brilliant title track and the delicately addictive detour of “Vultures Like Lovers”, while Empty Estate  gives us “The Body in Rainfall”, which sees Tatum merging Berlin-era Bowie with a riveting nod to Bradford Cox and Deerhunter. With a Heroes-like opening, Tatum takes his tailored dream-pop aesthetics into the late 70’s showing that he can master just about anything. It stands out as one of Wild Nothings finest work to date.

The rest of the EP draws inspiration from a wealth of influences, largely unmapped on previous albums. The Talking Heads-funk of “A Dancing Shell” evokes the new wave era of the early 80’s, while “Ride” is Tatum’s take on the suggestive krautrock aesthetics of Neu!. These heights are linked with the more expected albeit synthier 80’s pop of “Ocean Repeating” and “Data World”, as well as a couple of tentative instrumentals detours.

With a diverse set of influences Tatum proves that he is in no way solely stuck in the 80’s. Empty Estate might be a bit of a rollercoaster between heights on lows, but the flirt with decades and genres other than those we normally attribute to Wild Nothing is a comforting signal that we might get something like “The Body In Rainfall” or “Ride” on the next full-length.

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