Yes, I know that I am going back in time for this one. I was listening to the more recent release from Wildlife called “Year of the Snake” and even though that is a good record, my own mind said, “They had one I liked more…sometime in the past…when was that..?” At which point I dug through a lot of old music info and realized it was “Out on Your Block.” And no, I do not have any criticism of “Year of the Snake” to offer…but my personal opinion is that this 2017 release is just better….and the cover art is quite interesting.
If you are not familiar with Wyldlife I think they are best described as a punk / rock and roll cross with an edgy 80’s sound and style. They play very well and put together solid songs that sometimes seem simple on your first listen but usually have a good bit of complexity running around in the background.
This album kicks off with “Desperate Times” and this one has a nice, driving guitar that carries it along very well. I think my only complaint is that the vocals are a little bit too “screamy” at some points but it still sounds good. That is followed up by “Teenage Heart” that has a definite 80’s beat and feel to it…and I mean that in a good way. The lyrics even reflect that era as does the call-out chorus line. I really like the bass work on this song also as it provides a great foundation for the music and peeks through at the just the right moments.
The next song “Keepsakes” is one of my two favorites, both because it tells a simple but good story and also for its punchy delivery of the music. The lyrics, such as “you were misery that I couldn’t figure out,” are compelling and stark. That is followed up by “Deadbeat” which has really good guitar sound and even though this is a typical “youth / angst” type song, it is put together and played well.
Track five is “Bandida” which is a guitar and drum driven bopper that will get you jumping along with it if you are so inclined. It provides a good lead in to “Contraband” which I would call an explosive song. Building right up from a great drum intro this song has great nervous energy running though it accompanied by wailing and screeching guitar. The taunting vocal delivery and the drop-out ending seal the deal – a great song.
“Suburban” is the “meh” song for me on this album as it is a bit too squeaky and whiny for me. It is followed by “120 Minutes” which is most notable for the guitar work at the 2:30 mark and “Cuffed” which has some very interesting lyrics, good bass lines and some atypical musical moments.
Last up is “Get Loud” and this one is well worth the wait and another favorite of mine. The best part of this song, and something that really adds to its overall quality, is that it does not come in super loud like you might expect. It starts subtly with some swinging drums and guitar, the vocals creeping along and everything slowly building up to crash over briefly at 1:20. It then holds before slowing down again. This song is the longest at 4:07 and needs all of that room to develop fully and really shine. There are a few lyrical gems in here also such as, “beneath the streetlights I wonder why I’m always chasing abuse.”
Overall, a great album and enjoyable to listen to both for fun and for more serious musical appreciation.
You can check out more of their music and information on their Bandcamp page https://wyldlife.bandcamp.com
And please remember to support your local music and art scene – community is powerful!