Independent release, 2017

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


Vilde is the solo project of Melbourne born, Stockholm-based artist Thomas Savage, the former lead vocalist of one of the most amazing and unique bands that no one’s heard of: Kins. After putting out just one album and two EPs, Kins disbanded and Vilde was formed.

The handful of folks who are familiar with Kins would give their nod to the fact that this band was intense; listening to their only full-length LP is an especially emotional experience. Study/Dance takes things a bit easy, in this respect. The record’s first two cuts “Produce” and “Dreamboat” are catchy, with simple structures and danceable beats...quite the opposite of the heavy guitar-based complex gloominess of the Kins LP or even the more synth-leaning Kins EPs, which were pretty dark as well.

Furthermore, the album closes with “Just Visiting,” which sounds like a normal indie number with pleasant ethereal guitars, warm vocals, and an overall comforting feel, which is quite a departure from Savage’s previous work.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Savage might have dialed down the intensity in his music, but this does not mean that there is no edginess left in it at all. In fact, there is plenty of it to be found on Study/Dance. “Fully Fledged,” with its thumping drumming and melodic but tense guitars, is one of the more organic tracks on this disc, and is very similar to Kins’ guitar-based LP. “High Horse,” featuring fully synth-based sounds consisting of beefy odd time beats and a dark “trip-hop” vibe, is close to the EPs from Kins.

“Maintain” displays the best of both worlds. On one hand, it is accessible and upbeat like “Produce” and “Dreamboat;” on the other, it is deep and ominous, making for an amazing number.

Study/Dance is actually a compilation of 12 songs that were released one by one over a period of many months. It is therefore not surprising that this record sounds more like a pastiche rather than a cohesive collection of music. Since there was no thought of a unified album during the creation of these numbers, this also means that some of the cuts appear incomplete or rushed. For example, “Stimuli,” which is only a little over three minutes long, presents itself like a few different tracks put together. Same goes with “Strictly Speaking,” which although interesting, constantly keeps changing and comes across as somewhat scattered.

In an interview alluding to Kins breaking up, Savage mentioned that he was pretty lost for ideas in terms of what to do, and that whatever followed would have to “independently reconcile itself, coming through patience and experimentation rather than conscious thought.” Study/Dance undoubtedly seems like a record conceived from this mental process, by an artist who is on a path to finding himself again. Spontaneous and random it might be, but Study/Dance doesn’t compromise on Savage’s eccentric and brilliant song craftsmanship, exceptional production quality, and uniquely haunting vocals. This is a solid indie album by any measure.

Rating: B+

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