Review : Headlights - Wildlife
PitchforkThe first track on Headlights' newest album is called "Telephones", but there are a half-dozen other songs on Wildlife that could've feasibly been titled the same. Phones are all over the indie pop band's third full-length effort: they ring with no one to answer them; calls are short and only reinforce the distance, both literal and emotional, between yourself and the ones you love. The telephone serves as the great motif and most pernicious tool in reinforcing the album's overriding theme, which is how frail, fraught, and difficult to maintain the connections are between family, lovers, and friends.
You may be thinking this synopsis sounds pretty heady for an indie-pop record, especially coming from a band that rather guilelessly trumpets itself as "Indie Rock for People Who Love Pop" on its web site, and that made its biggest splash to date with a politely infectious single called "Cherry Tulips". It's actually quite easy to listen to Wildlife as a breezily low-key indie pop record if that's what you'd prefer, though that short-sells the group's admirable conceptual accomplishments. Musically, the album is largely loose-limbed and friendly, from the ringing, melodic guitar lines of "Telephones" to the easy sun-kissed vibes of "Get Going" to the almost cheekily hollow trashcan drumbeats of "Love Song for Buddy". "I Don't Mind at All" approximates the tense propulsion of Broken Social Scene, but that's about as sonically pensive as it gets. Even the group's purposefully moody musical bum trips are mostly too benign to really sting, and the album's generally undemonstrative character makes it ripe for an ignorable listen assuming you're not feeling inclined to really dig beneath its placidly shimmering surfaces....full text
SputnikmusicContrast and contradiction plague Wildlife, in a good way. Recorded in their home, located in Champaign, Illinois, the angst and confusion shows through on their latest record. Recorded in a short period of time, and marked by band break-ups during the process, Wildlife combines beautiful lush, indie pop with a welcome sense of variety that is so often lacking in similar sounding music. Indie pop often falls victim to monotony and flatness, but Headlights keep things fresh.
From the heights of the swooning, upbeat “Get Going” to the depths of the more dreary anthems like “Wisconsin Beaches,” Wildlife manages to overcome dullness. The vocals are light and airy, and remain fairly captivating throughout. The lyrics aren’t incredibly comprehendible (and from what I can make out, a bit bland), but the vocals do lend themselves to creating a better atmosphere. Gorgeous and heartbreaking, uplifting and dreary, it’s hard to put my finger on the feeling the singing gives me; but more importantly, emotion is undoubtedly present. The driving guitar and oft present keyboard provide a haziness to further obscure my feeling on the music. Wildlife has personality. The boy-girl back-and-forth on “We’re All Animals” works splendidly, but so does “Teenage Wonder” where Headlights could easily be a one-girl band. Notable moments are aplenty on Headlights’ latest, but I couldn’t write a review and NOT mention the beautiful build-up on “Dead Ends.” Slow or fast, simple or complex, Wildlife is executed splendidly....full text
ZmemusicI have interviewed the Headlights a couple of months ago (Interview), when they promised that their new material will be out this fall. And they kept their promise, as we only have about 2 weeks until we’ll finally see the new Headlights album – „Wildlife” in stores. It will be released at the beginning of next month, October 6th to be exact, when you’ll be able to enjoy the 11 fresh new tracks signed by Brett, Erin, Nick and Tristan. You can already pre-order the album !here!.
You have to take a listen to: „Get Going” (available for listening on their MySpace page) for the beautifully played guitar throughout the entire song, which seems to be in perfect collaboration with the daring vocals and fast lyrics; to „Telephones” for the breezy vocals, which are quite typical for this band and which perfectly match with the playful keyboards and with the quite powerful and bold electric guitar towards the end of the song; to „Dead Ends” for a wonderfully strong use of instruments and for the duet between Erin and one of the guys; to „Wisconsin Beaches”, simply for Erin’s interpretation, a sad experience however, supported by deep and intense lyrics and to „Teenage Wonder” – a 3:40 min mix of bells, guitars, keyboard and specific vocals....full text
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