In most songs, going to the river results in someone’s bloody, untimely demise. For Toronto’s Wildlife however, the river is a place for freedom, escape, and rebirth. Over the thumping percussion, synths, guitars and yelpy vocals of “Stand in the Water”, the quintet surprises the listener with optimism instead of an apocalyptic or nihilistic view.
That shift of emotion and the rough exterior are crucial to the success of this EP, especially since the elements this young band builds from are not uncommon in today’s indie rock scene. They have the infectious energy and intensity that have become standard for many new bands since Spencer, Dan, Arlen and Dante exploded on the scene, but Wildlife adds a recklessness – more akin to West Coast, bearded drunkards like Ladyhawk – at just the right moments, giving the songs a looser, disheveled feel. Even when the band is at their poppiest – the catchy as hell “When I Get Home” – the songs still feel more organic and more flexible than most indie rock synth-onies and are ready to break apart at the seams.
The spontaneity lets the band slide into a more standard electro feel (“Money From God” has an 80’s sheen on it that works well for the band) or a classic folk tale like “Drunken Heart” without losing the listener. The slowed pace of the latter helps ground the continuous climaxes the band offers, giving a much needed moment of tenderness and more importantly, letting us know that the band’s best days still lie ahead and that they are drawing from a creative pool much larger than the tons of bands pilfering from the same influences.