CD Review: Wild Nothing “Gemini”

One of my favorite beverages in the summertime is Brio; a chinotto-flavored soda that boasts a faint hint of bitterness to complement the usual saccharine you’d expect from a carbonated drink of this variety. It’s a terrifically refreshing concoction, so naturally, other producers have put their ostensibly distinctive spin on it. San Pellegrino’s – the second largest purveyor in Canada, to my knowledge – is far more generous in its dosage of the citrus, drawing it to the fore and pushing a slight accent into outright acridity. When it’s too pronounced, the chinotto engenders an inescapable gustatory conflict.

Gemini suffers from San Pellegrino’s intemperance. Wild Nothing’s gauzy aura is fairly pleasant at first glance, and as virtually every publication has made note of, its debut is indeed branded with the spirit of the ’80s. Previously released single ‘Summer Holiday’ in addition to ‘O, Lilac’, and ‘Our Composition Book’ are charming ditties rehashing the bouncy, world-moving-too-quickly pop of Slumberland or Sarah Records. ‘The Witching Hour’ is maybe the album’s finest hour; romantic, clueless, and heavily indebted to The Durutti Column as sheets of lustrous guitar are bedded atop wistful vocals, which rush up a never-ending flight of stairs with no recollection of the impetus behind their ascent.

Alas, Jack Tatum soon proves a fairly dubious filter of the ’80s, allowing a number of ghastly caricaturist moments into the affair, from the hokey drum machine of ‘Drifter,’ to the laser-beam synths of ‘Bored Games’. At the heart of the matter, ‘Confirmation’ is another passable British-indie-pop-inspired track, but it’s dressed up in tawdry twinkles, which register as closer to goofy than genial. Beyond the dismal nature of these tracks, two of them are situated in Gemini‘s nexus, obliterating any sense of immersion.

The small fish in a big pond is a timeless striking image. When a second fish tags along for the ride, donning brash look-at-me duds and yelling at every passer-by to ensure maximum visibility, it doesn’t go down quite as smoothly.

SCORE: 5.7/10

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