‘Owe You Nothing’ sports a twee edge, with downcast lyrics that hinge on sugary vocals, backed by a jagged wall of sound in the latter half. Truth be told, we’ve heard that sound plenty of times before. But, Wildhoney do add to the mixture, there’s accessible pop-centric melodies combined with lo-fi charm, they’re delivered with a frenetic energy that bowls the listener over. ‘Maybe You’re Crazy’ is a good example of this. It sucks you in with catchy vocals and then hits with a wave of noise.
If a heavy dose of noise pop is your thing, then Wildhoney’s ‘Sleep Through It‘ will be right up your street! It’s full throttle most of the way, with a short breath for air during ‘Tea Leaves’ and ‘FSA’, otherwise it doesn’t let up. The standouts ‘Seventeen’, ‘Fall In’, ‘Molly’ and the title track are worth the price of admission alone. Wildhoney aren’t taking themselves too seriously and are producing some really fun noise pop along the way.
The songs on Sleep Through It tend to take a linear approach, but one that’s buoyed by the shading of the music. Concision is the name of the game on tracks like “Owe You Nothing” and album highlights “Seventeen” and “Fall In.” Here, the vocals aren’t buried in the mix, but presented at an often slightly lower volume, centered for a clarity that works to the group’s advantage. This balancing showcases their strength at designing sparkling earworms while guitars warp and peel back around them. The particular clean-guitar tone used on much of the album brings to mind something a friend once referred to as “that 80s alternative” sound: a layered, sweeping timbre you may be familiar with from albums like Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me (The Cure), What Does Anything Mean? Basically (The Chameleons), and Ocean Rain (Echo & the Bunnymen), a sound that only certain chorus pedals can truly replicate.
Some of the last generation of shoegazers have fallen on hard times lately — a quick once-over of the new A Place to Bury Strangers album will help you get my meaning here. But it’s good to know that newer bands like Wildhoney are out there. Sure, they haven’t exactly changed the game with Sleep Through It, but they’ve manged to create a deft and thoroughly enjoyable album, and it makes me excited to hear what they’ll sound like on their second and third albums.