Wilderness Wilderness

Living in the times that we do gives us the benefit of looking back at the failures and accomplishments of those who came before us — for better or worse. Wilderness are a Baltimore band who realise Public Image Ltd. had the right idea about crafting tense, thought-provoking songs that make your hips move, but time has allowed them the hindsight to see that it was that band’s often grating melodies that damned them for wider acceptance. Wilderness’ remedy to that problem is to combine the rhythmic intensity of P.I.L. with safer guitar melodies that up the jangle ante, like something Echo & the Bunnymen, U2 or pretty much any other successful mid-’80s UK act did. The results of this pristinely dissonant debut’s ten songs are not lacking for hypnotic production value, but rather for variety. Opening track "Marginal Over” puts the band’s strongest foot forward and thereby defines the group by flaunting its forward-thinking rhythms and singer James Johnson’s barking John Lydon-ish voice and rhetorical lyrics. But as the album wears on and doles out this same plodding formula, with hardly any outstanding fervour, it becomes numbed by its own meticulous nature and adherence to individual style. In short, Wilderness could do with a bit of growth, specifically: branching out. (Jagjaguwar)