American dream-pop act Wild Nothing, AKA Jack Tatum, made one of the most acclaimed records of 2010 in Gemini, a fantastic work of summery surf-pop. So this sophomore effort, Nocturne, proves something of a disappointment. Yes, it’s decent enough, but it’s far too similar a record to its predecessor to be considered worthwhile.
Nocturne kicks off in wonderful fashion with ‘Shadow’, a song that exudes sunshine through its shimmering guitars, hazy, distant vocals and soft percussion. This is, somewhat unsurprisingly, a theme of the record, and one that’s continued from first track to last. This conviction is certainly to be commended, but when the vast majority of the record’s content sounds so familiar, this credit is muted somewhat.
It’s only when he tries to do something different that the talent of Tatum begins to shine through, and ‘Paradise’, an ode to ‘80s synth pop, is undeniably a highlight. But even this isn’t particularly fresh or original.
And this is where the record starts to break down. It all sounds nice enough – particularly for the belated summer we’re having – but there’s not really anything on Nocturne that you haven’t heard before, be it from Wild Nothing or from another similarly sunkissed American indie band.
This isn’t to say there’s anything wrong with a band sticking to their guns; but in this case, it’s not particularly interesting to listen to.