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REVIEW: The Wild’ punk roots and banjo twang produce solid record

Atlanta’s quintet, The Wild, has been ripping through the southeast, and beyond.

In just a few months, the group has released its newest LP, “Dreams are Maps,” and embarked on a tour throughout the greater southern and western United States with emo revivalists You Blew It!

The Wild’s third release takes to a warm return to early-folk-punk with heavy indie rock influences and the tiniest, yet necessary, hint of country melody. The record’s fusion of indie rock, folk-punk and country lures the listener into an hour long journey through which the artists shape a sound completely different than preconceived notions.

Warm guitar and frustrated vocals toting society’s problems and political angst fill the first two tracks, “There’s a Darkness” and “New Houses,” and set a baseline for the album. Lyrics in each of the songs showcase the album’s punk roots. Similar to Against Me!’s “Reinventing Axel Rose” and “However,” the record takes a left turn in the title track, “Dreams are Maps,” followed by “Riverside,” in which The Wild comes out blazing with banjo reinforced with fervent harmonicas.

At this point, the attitude takes a much different approach, and that’s where The Wild’s ingenuity shines. The record moves from slower, basic indie rock and folk-punk track to bump-and-run jams with country roots entrenched in the instruments. Both vocalists are spot on during the middle cut and latter part of the record with Diana Settles’s airy Lemuria-style vocals combined with Witt Wisebram’s crooning, both of which are at their pinnacle on the track “Five Senses.”

While this record has several redeeming qualities, it falls short in two categories. The first being that the album tends to be slow at times and a couple tracks drone. Many of them also have moments where a swell of guitars and drums begin to emerge, only to fall short of a climax and hesitate to divert from the path set forth in the song. The other shortcoming of the record is Witt’s vocal style when singing with a frustrating attitude. I remarked in The Wild’s live performance critique that the live performance was nothing short of enticing and energetic, mostly due to Witt’s raspy vocals and intense stage presence. However, on the record, that presence seems to absent and the songs tend to have an overbearingly somber tone. Witt’s vocals need a kick of angst and rasp to keep the songs from blending together.

Bottom Line: Folk-punk enthusiasts and indie-rock fans will rejoice for this record and find The Wild’s third release to be nothing short of a very solid record.

Rating: 8/10

Favorite Track: Five Senses

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