1. Things Will Grow
2. Tungsten Steel (Epilogue)
3. Whooping Church
4. Magic Jordan
7. Nervous Buzzing
2007 Crucial Blast Records
Okay. It took a bit of time to get over the band name and album title. But after the tribal rhythms, psychedelic guitar tones and hypnotic vocals of "Things Will Grow" faded out I didn't care anymore. These guys rock in a way that leaves me speechless in the best possible way. I was even more amazed to find these guys were based out of California, rather than some hidden grotto in Mexico.
The production has a hollow quality that harkens back to My Bloody Valentine's Loveless. Most tracks start out as a shimmering wall of noise that alternates between spacey psychedelic sound collages and Black Sabbath being run through the mix at a Jesus & Mary Chain concert. The closest example I can offer would be the primal/apocalyptic sludge of Zozobra, which still falls short, as Wildildlife wander into much weirder territory and more distended song structures than Zozobra or even Old Man Gloom ever did.
As a result, differentiating between various instruments is a pointless affair.Be it the drone-centred amp hum of "Nervous Buzzing," the thrashing feedback squall of "Tungsten Steel (Epilogue)" or the tweaked-out thunder of "Feed" - everything flows together with the density of six-month-old bongwater. The band is capable of some absolutely heavy work, as on the crushingly gorgeous climax of "Magic Jordan." But at the drop of a hat, Wildildlife segue into beautiful dreampop, replete with sunny guitars and echoing vocals that eclipse the menace of a few minutes before.
Which is where I'd say Wildildlife differs from dozens of other stoner/drone rock bands; behind the lengthy songs that seem to meander all over the map, there's still a sense of cohesion and purpose behind the music that surfaces after repeated listens. I'm not saying that this is a completely perfect album. Wildildlife sometimes forsake song structure for style. I can't help but feel like "Whooping Church" came about because the band found a cool sound, but couldn't fit it into any other tracks, so they made a song based around the repetition of a nasally whooping sound. And some of the outros for the longer tracks feel like they're dragging on a bit, but then again not as much as I'd expect, considering that three tracks on the album are 12+ minutes long.
Bottom Line: Wildildlife aren't for everyone. Many folks will be turned off by the band's penchant for long songs, or simply alienated by the disparate elements thrown into the mix. But it's incredibly refreshing to hear something come down the pipe that isn't banal trendhopping or beating a dead horse. Anyone willing to invest the time and attention span to acquaint themselves with Wildildlife's mix of shoegaze, metal, tribal rhythms and 70's psychedelic rock will find one of the more rewarding albums of 2007.