Mirror Touch

Wild Ones

Topshelf Records, 2017


REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


On this sophomore effort, Portland, Oregon’s Wild Ones have shown how good they really are at crafting gleefully poppy songs that are also achingly melancholic. The band plays with the dichotomy of gaiety and somberness beautifully, in an album that is irresistibly catchy and touching at the same time.

The dreamy guitars and synthesizers combined with the dancy beats is one way the band juggles this dichotomy. The other, is frontwoman Danielle Sullivan’s vocals. Her languid singing style has the wrenching sadness and all-encompassing nature of Victoria Legrand of the dream pop act Beach House. At the same time, it has a sense of innocent joyousness that sounds absolutely adorable.

The single “Standing In The Back Of Your Show,” which is indisputably the best cut on my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Mirror Touch, is a great example of the brilliance of the band’s music and Sullivan’s voice. This prominently guitar-driven song, has a smooth sixties noir-psychedelic vibe that will bring tears to your eyes with its pensiveness. On top of this, is Sullivan’s powerful voice, piercing the heart with every word sung, especially when she sings the chorus at the end of the song without the music: “All day fighting a craving/I know it’s wrong to try and lead you astray/Can’t tell me you don’t think about me when I’m gone/Cuz you do.”

A song about the rather grim theme of not opening up to the outside world, “Invite Me In” starts off slow and somber with atmospheric synthesizers and Sullivan’s pained vocals. But the chorus is upbeat, with wonderful harmonizing vocals and buoyant drums.

The kickoff track “Paresthesia” is an interesting one, going back and forth between its musically sparse verse and musically lush chorus. The verse, consisting merely of softly played drums and vocals, is jaunty, with a peppy beat and playfully happy singing. During the chorus, dense synthesizers and guitars gush out like a waterfall, filling the void created by the verse. The ensuing “Do You Really” is an all guns blazing rousing indie pop number with heavy beats and synthesizers, and a chorus that is exuberant even though the words – “Do you really wanna turn me away? Do you really wanna tell no? Do you really wanna turn me away? Oh oh, I didn’t think so” – aren’t.

“Forgetting Rock N Roll” is a full on electro pop song with huge synthesizers and thumping beats. Although the music itself is dark, the airy vocals make this a light danceable track rather than a gloomy synth-pop one.

Mirror Touch takes cheerful indie pop to a whole new level of sophistication and musical artistry. Wild Ones’ music is intense and serious, but they sure have mastered turning this music into infectious pop songs.

Rating: B+

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© 2017 Vish Iyer and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Topshelf Records, and is used for informational purposes only.