i can be a good friend and i can be a good lover but i can’t do both of them
It happens every year. Just as you are wrapping up your Best Albums list you stumble on that album that flew under your radar and is suddenly now blanket bombing your ears with explosive jams that you can’t stop listening to. This year’s assault comes courtesy of Wildlife and their debut LP Strike Hard, Young Diamond. Well, assault isn’t really the right word. More like an enthusiastic invitation to join them on a day trip to the beach of huge hooks, bask under the glowing sun of good vibes and occasionally jump into the ocean of catchy sing-alongs. Damn, that’s kind of a confusing analogy. Good thing they put a helpful visual on their album art. Although all the people dancing and moshing to the band must be just out of frame.
“Stand in the Water” kicks off Strike Hard and I can’t remember the last time I heard such a perfect opening track. It starts off innocent enough, just a light acoustic guitar strumming away, and then things start to build. More guitar. The urgent vocals. The huge drums. The right on “oooohhh”s. Before you know it the whole thing has comes in like the tide and you are singing along so hard that you don’t even notice that your pants are soaked in sea water and the sand crabs are rocking out too.
Everything continues on point through the rest of the album as Wildlife tackle floor stompers (“When I Get Home”), tender soul baring (“Drunken Heart,” “American Eyes,” “Killing For Fun”), and rousing anthems (“Sea Dreamer,” “Move To The City”) with equal panache. But it’s “Matches” that somehow edges slightly above the rest for me (not an easy feat. Tough playing field!). There is something so classic in it’s execution but paired with Wildlife’s unique vocal delivery and on-point grooves it takes things to a great new level. Something familiar and fresh all in one. I guess that’s what Wildlife are all about, really. I dig it.