Today sees the release of the debut self-titled by Welsh band, Wylderness. Riding the new wave of shoegaze (see what I did there?), there is no doubting the debt to Ride, but this is no carbon copy or pale pastiche. Veering away from dream pop tendencies, ‘Wylderness’ represents a more muscular guitar-driven variety, not afraid to inject a bit of grit such as in opening track ‘Broadcast’.
The album was produced by Rory Attwell (of Veronica Falls, Telegram, Palma Violets fame) at the Light Ship 95 studios. The studio is unique – in that it’s a boat – permanently moored at Trinity Buoy Wharf, East London. According to the band, the process was “quite the experience” as the boat would rock back and forth against the rocks during recording.
Wylderness utilise all the best weapons in the arsenal – Pixies/JAMC quiet/loud contrasts, soaring verses and choruses and pop-quality melodies. Songs such as “YY AA’ feature glorious layered harmonies and crystalline guitars infused with longing and melancholia.
Their first single, ’72 and Sunny’, is a euphoric, chiming and hypnotic song that could have been on the soundtrack to ‘Lost in Translation’ alongside anything by Kevin Shields, and a has a beautifully shot sunny video to accompany it:
This is Madchester meet shoegaze territory. Lyrically the band has looked towards the often-mythologised Welsh exodus to Patagonia for inspiration. The narrative of the single explores the stance of two characters. One of them is eager to escape to their idealistic and romantic vision of a South American utopia, the other is more concerned about the dangers of such a journey, arguing it would be better to stay at home.
Second single off the album, ‘Peripheral’ is classic shoegaze with its yearning vocals over a wall of guitar with the video swapping the sun for the snow:
The band steps out again on ‘Sunography’ – a chanting, mesmerising lyricism and a tune imbued with inherent optimism and a long dream-like outro. ‘Up on A Dias’ is another song that indicates Wylderness have their own unique take on the shoegaze genre – this song displays a melodic sophistication and subtlety while maintaining a rock’n’roll core.
This is a very strong debut album – a welcome guitar-driven spine with soaring, engaging and expressive melodies.
You can get the album here: