Upon Googling Eric Shaw, the artist behind Empty Estate’s colorful cubism-meets-1987 cover, you’ll likely stumble upon this interview where he informs us that his extracurriculars include creating art while smoking weed out of a zucchi, deeming his cover design a fitting compliment to Wild Nothing’s dreamy guitar pop, from which smoke practically materializes on its own.
While both 2010’s Gemini and 2012’s Nocturne delivered luscious, ‘80s-inspired dream-pop covered in the slightest film of melancholy, Tatum now returns with seven sprawling, upbeat, and psychedelic songs. Get lost during the instrumental last minute of EP-opener “The Body in the Rainfall”, during which a growing keys/drum/guitar section builds a certain suspicion that a jovial chorus of “Hey!”s or “Yeah!”s you’d find in a song from a band like Of Monsters And Men is on its way. Alas, it isn’t, but rarely does Wild Nothing’s music sound so sanguine.
Similarly, the tension that ebbs and flows on totally-instrumental and experimental “On Guyot” crafts a nearly six-minute maze at the album’s half-way mark. The oscillating layers of synths and effects on “Ocean Repeating (Big-eyed Girl)” manage to hold listeners’ attention while Tatum repeats “She’s my / big-eyed girl” a few too many times. Funky dance track (yes, you read that correctly) “A Dancing Shell”, with its symphony of synths and addictive groove, is so impressive that you begin to wonder why Tatum didn’t slap a few more tracks on the record and call it a full-length.
A trippy black and white photo graced the cover of Gemini, a teal and peach design on Nocturne, and this EP is dressed exactly how it sounds: a little more vibrant and a little more stoned.
Essential Tracks: “A Dancing Shell”