Published Jan 29, 2020Jack Tatum of Wild Nothing has often used the EP format to expand on ideas outside the context of his full-length work. Laughing Gas continues this trend, with material that emerged during the making of 2018's Indigo.
The 20-minute counterpart to Wild Nothing's fourth album was perfected with Jorge Elbrecht. Technically refined, the synthetic backdrop to Tatum's voice is more focused on Laughing Gas than it is in Indigo. The digital-age existential dread that Indigo explores is zeroed in on — the result is a bubbly dystopia that balances danceability and dreariness.
After "Sleight of Hand" sets a tone of elegant unease, "Dizziness" picks up the pace, pulsing through gritty riffs and hazy harmonies. The record's energy culminates in "Foyer," which boasts a chilly depth reminiscent of '80s synth-funk. The colourful "Blue Wings" enhances this sense of nostalgia, and mirrors the circular feel of the opening track. The record closes eerily, as the soulful wail of a saxophone swirls around Tatum's declaration that "The World Is a Hungry Place."
It has been a decade since Wild Nothing's debut, Gemini. While recent work has affirmed that Tatum's comfort zone is clear, Laughing Gas is a reminder that he is still open to exploration. (Captured Tracks)