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Wild Nothing Life of Pause Captured Tracks

Despite 2012’s album Nocturne adding a confident splash of Let’s Dance-era Bowie influences to the Wild Nothing sound, Jack Tatum has mostly stuck to the fey, sensitive feel of 80s records by the likes of The Cure and Felt.

And so on previous releases, Tatum has kept his vocals understated and low in the mix, allowing other instruments to compete for focus. When his guitars and synths were angular, melodic and roving, this interplay was at its most effective, as if Tatum was a preternaturally calm captain steering a ship through choppy waters.

On Life of Pause, this tension is mostly lost however, and his vocals are pushed to the forefront while his arrangements – which take on a busier, more psychedlic guise – fall strangely flat. The result is well-produced but often forgettable, and songs like Japanese Alice and Adore might be bland enough to have warranted being cut from the album altogether.

That being said, the album is also studded with captivating moments and feats of technical brilliance: qualities that have already become synonymous Wild Nothing’s music. Satisfying hooks are rife throughout and on Whenever I; the album’s effortlessly stylish and sweetly euphoric highlight, it feels like Tatum has accessed something more weightless and natural than anything he’s reached before.

While Life of Pause as a whole isn’t as strong as Tatum’s previous releases, it feels like it was a worthy creative digression to take, even if it mainly serves to highlight where his biggest strengths have always been.