Wild Nothing - Empty Estate
When an artist has been recording for over four years and is set to release their third album, you expect them to be branching out into the unknown, improving on previous work or experimenting with new sounds. Virginia’s Jack Tatum, trading as dream-pop/indie-rock artist Wild Nothing sadly falls somewhat short of that expectation. Previous albums Gemini and Nocturne delivered 80s-esque, dreamy indie-pop, but the seven track Empty Estate is more confused, its balance of synth-based and guitar-heavy material messy and distorted.
As an initial hook 'The Body In Rainfall' begins with a catchy guitar-riff and synth combination, and has the potential to grow into a strong track, but stumbles. Tatum’s muted vocals have a tendency to fade into the background, and this repeats during 'Ocean Repeating (Big-Eyed Girl)', 'Data World' and 'Ride'. If the lyrics are imaginative or thought-provoking, for the majority of the album they are simply incomprehensible. The intriguing song titles ('A Dancing Shell', 'Hachiko') and cover art don't disguise the fact Empty Estate can't rise much above background music.