Wilder, The Heartbreaks

Alisha Ahmed 30/07/2010

A couple of weeks ago I received an envelope on a Saturday morning. Yes, Saturday does have hours in the AM apparently. Not necessarily to be known, but they're there.

I stumbled upon it, and had to rub my eyes a couple of times before I could accept that, yes, it was addressed exactly to myself (my home address to be very specific) and yes, it was coming directly from 66 Golborne Road.
I've loved Saturday mornings since.

The tricky part came after I opened the envelope, to find only a CD. Nothing written on the sleeve, no tracklist, not even a PR with it. On the CD itself, a handwritten word: "Wilder". I think that is also the new definition of the aforementioned Saturday Mornings: definitely wild.

So no other help than the precious CD itself in my hands I gave it a couple of listens: it was the as-of-then yet unreleased debut single by Bristol band Wilder, one of the newest signing by Rough Trade Records, graced already by the attention of NME amongst other media. Two songs, dominated by synthesizers and raw vocals, which still managed to follow some pleasant-to-the-ears chord sequences.

The CD has since become the main object of study and discussion among my friends & I, so much so that when I heard Wilder were playing at the first 'Going Deaf For a Living' club night by Steve Lamacq at the Bull & Gate in Kentish town, well... wouldn't you have checked them out?
I did of course, and found myself in a rather crowded venue, even if Wilder weren't the main headliners of the night.

Before I get into the gig part though, now might be a good time to tell you that, besides the two songs on the aforementioned promo, they seem to extend their style in ways that do not allow me to put my finger on what they sound like exactly yet. Synths are not enough to claim the 80s influence, as they got me already traumatised in this 80s revival that started a few years ago with the likes of MGMT and the questionable attempts to sound a couple of decades old Black Kids put up with.

But the way the synths sound is integrated in Wilder's songs is just not enough to claim that link, and even though 'Girls Vs Boys' manages to begin with a infectiously charming synth's loop (who got me and the lucky friend on the other end of the phone I was at when I first played it, very well impressed to say the least) I found quite some pleasure in listening to 'TBT' and find the little nods to Muse playing to be Depeche Mode with a tad bit of Phoenix. But in their own ways, these two songs shared still similarities, even beyond the simple use of the same instruments and sounds. What I was unprepared for was a song they played live that managed to have me guessing "Is this what Sigur Ros would sound like if they were to ever embrace a Korg?". Kidding aside, that is the peculiar truth I found out about Wilder, which is basically telling me they are up to give a lot of unexpected surprise before anyone could put their finger right on what they are.

They also managed to tear down to pieces the expected cliche' that had me thinking "If a band is three boys and a girl, the girl's gonna be the frontman". Well, not quite. I think Becky rocked even more than I could've been prepared to witness as she's the drummer in the band. Tough cookie maybe, but I falled exactly for that. But more than that, I have now an image in my mind that struck me with some kind of epiphany by the end of the show when Jay, the synthesiser boy, came down the stage, while putting on is leather jacket and with feathers falling down between his hair. He stopped by Geoff Travis, and there and then I realised that, they've been recognised and trusted by the same label who brought us The Strokes and The Libertines, so I would not be surprised if the next revolution to come in british music would start off like this again, from them.

And on that, right now, I bet my money on Wilder.