Headlights – Wildlife

May 7th, 2010 by WLOY Staff

Contrast and contradiction plague Wildlife, in a good way. Recorded in their home, located in Champaign, Illinois, the angst and confusion shows through on their latest record. Created in a short period of time and marked by band break-ups during the process, Wildlife combines beautiful, lush indie-pop with a welcome sense of variety that is so often lacking in similar sounding music. Indie-pop often falls victim to monotony and flatness, but Headlights keep things fresh.

From the heights of the swooning, upbeat “Get Going” to the depths of the more dreary anthems like “Wisconsin Beaches,” Wildlife manages to overcome dullness. The vocals are light and airy and remain fairly captivating throughout. The lyrics aren’t incredibly comprehensible (and from what I can make out, a bit bland), but the vocals do lend themselves to creating a better atmosphere. Gorgeous and heartbreaking, uplifting and dreary, it’s hard to put my finger on the feeling the singing gives me, but more importantly, emotion is undoubtedly present. The driving guitar and oft present keyboard provide a haziness to further obscure my feeling on the music. Wildlife has personality. The boy-girl back-and-forth on “We’re All Animals” works splendidly, but so does “Teenage Wonder” where Headlights could easily be a one-girl band. Notable moments are aplenty on Headlights’ latest, but I couldn’t write a review and NOT mention the beautiful build-up on “Dead Ends.” Slow or fast, simple or complex, Wildlife is executed beautifully.

Indie-pop is a genre that can be tough to make interesting, but with the variety of textures and surplus of great songs (there’s hardly a dud on the album), Wildlife stands its ground. Stars comes to mind when trying to describe the appeal of Headlights, with the hushed duet of vocals and soft, luscious harmonies. While this may be a bit generous, I can’t help but feel Wildlife deserves it. Headlights have created, if nothing else, an incredibly likable indie-pop record that doesn’t succumb to the usual curses. Yes, it’s been done before, but I can’t help but feel Headlights have made it “their own” while at the same time creating an immediately pleasurable listen in Wildlife.

Recommended Tracks:

Wisconsin Beaches

We’re All Animals

Teenage Wonder

Overall Grade: 84% B-

Download on Headlights - Wildlife

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