Like it or not, history’s biggest and brightest indie pop acts typically only have one, maybe two great records in them, with the rapid rise and comedown often happening fast and furious. While it’s too early in Wild Nothing’s career to see where head songwriter Jack Tatum will end up, he may be treading into dangerous waters.
Following the breakout success of 2010’s Gemini, Tatum’s project has gone the route of evolution, not departure, with the sophomore follow-up Nocturne, a record that sticks close to Wild Nothing’s already-established dream pop MO. Instead of big left turns, the record presents a more refined vision of what came before, opting to zone in and flesh out the songwriter’s melancholic approach with bigger production value, adding in strings, classical guitar, synth work and a heavier electronic vibe. It results in a cleaner, fresher, more slicked-out album, and serves as a logical progression of Wild Nothing’s debut.
That said, you can’t help but fear that Tatum might soon be written off as one-trick pony, As a whole, the album plays out beautifully, but it isn’t the work of an artist who’s big on taking chances. If you like Wild Nothing just the way it is, then no worries — you won’t be disappointed with Nocturne. But come album three, Tatum may need to dig deep and show he has some more tricks up his sleeve if he hopes to keep a fickle music-consuming public’s attention.