Strange Wilds are both strange and wild, although on reflection probably more wild than strange. Subjective Concepts is a grungey hardcore record that drinks in the major music history of their native Seattle. Out on Sub Pop, with the option of white vinyl exclusively limited to independent stores (like ours!).
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It’s Sub Pop hardcore, so it actually sounds like Sebadoh. Kinda punk outfit Strange Wilds come blazing into this record with two furious tunes in “Pronoia” and “Starved For”, both of which scramble over a torrent of distorted guitars and a simple but unhinged drumbeat. There’s the sound of hardcore in those riffs -- and maybe as an honourary gesture for all their energy -- but the band keep it towards the indie spectrum with crystal-clear vocals and drawn out choruses. By the time “Autothysis” has come round, they’ve screeched to a halt with the whole gnarly shit, performing a sweet, downcast number that sounds something like Speedy Ortiz; gorgeous and ominous in the same blush.
Strange Wilds have got enough variations on a theme to keep them going, with the sparkle-toned grunge of “Don’t Have To”” recalling Unwound and Nirvana on a see-saw. “Oneirophobe” climbs with ant-like movements from meek, aimless guitar picking towards a sudden suffocating coffin of noise punk, scouring vocals under anything distortion and hi-hats. It’s like Metz with an occasional dependency on melodicism, and that’s a good thing -- it keeps us guessing.
It’s “Terrible” on this record which is the least actually terrible, a nice slow-burning thrasher that sees the band rise to the occasion of their gutter noise: snarling, they let in feedback and dissonance around a chord sequence that sounds like it’s going to get pretty but never does. Bless those great moments where Strange Wilds can make you think of melody without delivering it.
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