Dream pop needn’t sacrifice enthusiasm and energy in order to retain its identity as a wistful, sensual form of pop, and Nocturne is case in point.
Wild Nothing returns with a muscular new album, Nocturne, a fresh, vibrant new phase of Jack Tatum's dream-pop project that maintains a remarkably high degree of sonic fidelity to his first release, Gemini, while still being very much a big step forward.
Nocturne is a more ambitious album instrumentally, and the addition of a live, studio-recorded drum kit gives it a huge boost in energy and momentum. Tatum's vocals are clearer, and the whole thing feels a lot more lucid. The dream-like atmosphere is still there, but it's not as smothering as Gemini. The soft haze isn't distracting, and his glossy melodies shine through.
Rubbery basslines and Fleetwood Mac drum effects support shimmering guitar work, and Tatum's playfully opaque lyrics glide over the top, free from the weight of meaning and metaphor.
Nothing here feels wasted or superfluous, a common trap for '80s devotees to fall into. The effects aren't the focus; this isn't a referential showcase designed to make up for a lack of substance. This is the real deal, with real songwriting talent creating moody (yet upbeat) atmospheric pop songs with nice production flourishes.
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The final track Rheya feels a little droney by the end, but it's not enough to slow down the album after 40 minutes of (relatively) propulsive music. Dream pop needn't sacrifice enthusiasm and energy in order to retain its identity as a wistful, sensual form of pop, and Nocturne is case in point.