Wild Nothing’s Colorful and Bright “Nocturne”

Nocturne‘s album cover

As the needle drops onto the record, a swirling, angelic drone permeates through my sun-glazed room. The chorus comes in with a clean, bright guitar accompanied with an equally bright string section as the wind blows through my window and brings in a cool, subtle breeze. The music sparkled and had an uplifting vibe that I never heard before.  The record I was listening to was “Nocturne.” I have a very special relationship with this album because of its incredibly unique and uplifting sound.

Wild Nothing is an American Dream Pop band from Blacksburg, Virignia. They formed in 2009 by Jack Tatum who decided to make his own music after playing with other bands in college. Tatum’s demo Cloudbusting garnered him attention from Captured Tracks, a Brooklyn based record company. He signed and released his first full length album Gemini in the spring of 2010. Afterwards, he released another EP titled Golden Haze which featured a new sound that would later develop into his next full length album. “Nocturne” was released on August 28, 2012 and instantly got positive reception from fans and music critics alike.

Nocturne features a sound that Jack Tatum had developed for two years leading up to the album. His refined sound features bright, clean guitar riffs, soft and droning synths, 80s influenced basslines, and solid drum accompaniment. The album also uses a string section for a couple of songs and does a great job in their implementation. The concept of the album is beautifully refined and shows how much Jack Tatum took advantage of the studio environment that Captured Tracks provided him. Now let’s move on to the notable tracks of the album.

Jack Tatum and the rest of the band performing

“Shadow” is the first track of the album and features all of the sounds Tatum put together into the album as a whole. It features a swirly synth drone that lasts the whole song as well as a clean guitar and string section combo. In my opinion, the highlight of this track comes from its catchy melody as well as its simple but melancholy lyrics. Tatum’s wispy singing quality is accentuated by the synths used in the song.

Another notable track on the album is “Only Heather.” Clean guitars are featured in this song. They continuously play a glittery, arpeggiated riff that sounds perfect with the rest of the instrumentals. The synths underneath the guitar are soft and cloudy. It thickens the mix and makes the song sound more layered. The lyrics of the song are really catchy and you’ll find yourself singing them if you listen to the song a couple of times! Along with Tatum’s vocals are supporting vocals that brighten up the track even more. The supporting vocals have layers of reverb and delay on them that makes them blend withe synths. The drums are simple but effective in laying down the tempo of the song along with the simple bassline.

Now, time for my all time favorite song of the album! “Rheya” is the closing song of the album and features a pulsating, watery synth drone. This is paired with a chorus driven guitar that sounds equally watery. The lyrics are a contrast to “Only Heather” as its about a lost love. The bassline is straightforward

The band lineup during Nocturne‘s release

and staccato while the drums compliment it with its uplifting drum beat. As the melody comes in another synth sound comes in with a more electric sound. The reason why I personally love this song so much is because its a great look forward into what Wild Nothing would do next. In many ways, the song is the outlier of the album as it features more electronic sounding synths as well as chorus guitar that isn’t found that often in Nocturne.

Overall, Wild Nothing’s Nocturne is an amazing album that I recommend everybody to listen to. It is personally one of my all time favorite albums ever and I give it a 10/10!