An acoustic duo may seem out of place in the alternative scene, but over the last two years This Wild Life has managed to make themselves right at home in the Warped world. Maybe it’s the beard or the tattoos. More likely it’s the soaring choruses, catchy melodies, and heart-wrenching lyrics that have grabbed listeners’ attention.
The band skyrocketed to popularity with their 2014 debut Clouded. The album is a hard act to follow; however, their latest effort, Low Tides, manages to avoid the dreaded sophomore slump with grace and finesse. The album is soothing, sincere, and expands on many of the qualities fans came to love on Clouded.
One of Low Tides’ most defining features is the way the band weaves delicate harmonies throughout each track. Leader singer Kevin Jordan’s voice is strikingly beautiful and airy, with Anthony Del Grosso matching him note-for-note.
These harmonies shine in opener “Hit The Reset,” where Jordan quietly expresses remorse amongst a pulsing beat. The effect is gravity-defying and ethereal – an open and spacious tune about wanting to start again because “I’ll always love you/I always did.”
The album takes on a moodier, more intense tone in “Let Go.” The song’s harmonies ring out over a somber picking melody before opening up in an empowering crescendo. It’s about “learning when to let go” of the people holding you back, and features a cathartic realization:
I’m seeing you in color for the first time
I’ve never felt better leaving you behind
I won’t stay here
Because you don’t care
“Let Go” is sad without being bitter, and shows Jordan coming to terms with all that’s happened while trying to move on the best he can.
The struggle to move on continues in “Just Yesterday,” a track built on sobering guitars and the realization that everything changes eventually. Lingering violins give the track a deeply haunted feel, building into a bridge that asks: “Is it a waste of time trying to make this right?/I’ve got no piece of mind if you’re not in my life.”
This Wild Life experiments most on “Falling Down,” a bombastic track with rolling rhythms and boxy drums. Though the lyrics are sweet and trusting, much of Jordan’s vocals are lost amongst the booming horns that end up overpowering the melodies. The result feels forced and can be off-putting at times.
Rounding out the back half of the album are “Change My Sheets” and closer “Brick Wall,” two tracks that further Jordan’s journey to acceptance and closure. In the former, changing his sheets is meant to be a sign of starting fresh, though it’s clear that he has yet to fully accept that things are over. “Change My Sheets” features hazy guitars and echoing vocals begging to know “But where did you go?” He’s lost and unsure of what comes next; an increased tempo in the song’s bridge has Jordan racing towards an uncertain future.
Jordan’s falsetto shines in “Brick Wall’s” slow-burning outro as he croons “know that I’ve fallen from your clouds.” It marks a somber conclusion for Low Tides and a moment of acceptance for Jordan: there is no reset button.