The Wild – A Collection (album)

A Collection coverCool kids, and uncool kids too, may be familiar with Atlanta’s The Wild. They’ve been kicking around for a few years now, touring pretty hard around the US in the process (“We are five friends having a great time playing music together… We all feel the best when we are traveling together and getting to see old friends, making new ones, jumping off of high things into water, and playing music every night”).

I’m a fan of the donation-based label Quote Unquote Records and first came across The Wild via their site, in the form of their self-titled EP. I freely admit that I don’t remember much of that (it was over two years ago, dudes) but fortunately all is well, because A Collection is – you would never have guessed this, I know – a collection of assorted recorded tracks from the past few years. It includes everything from the self-titled EP, songs for their splits with Pedals on our Pirate Ships and Run, Forever (reviewed here) and a smattering of other tunes from live sets and sessions.

So yeah, previously The Wild had for me always fit snugly into a “cool band, don’t really care” sort of bracket. You know, that sort of perfectly acceptable music that you enjoy while you’re listening to, but it never sticks with you and once the record finishes you never play it again and you forget it exists. Until you come across the band’s name again and go, “oh yeah! That shit was cool. How did it go again?”

So there I was digging this album a lot more than I had any of their previous stuff and thinking “wow! These dudes got really good! This is rad!” And then I learned that it was a collection of stuff going back some years, and then I felt like the idiot I am. It pretty much just goes to show that my opinion should not be trusted, at least until I’ve listened to something half a dozen times or more – which is the case for pretty much all my reviews these days, for what that’s worth.

But whatever! Cool music, pals!

For the uninitiated, The Wild play is personal-political anarcho folk punk. They are way more upbeat and danceable and party-flavoured than other outfits such as Defiance Ohio, who always seem like they’re having a good time but look like they feel slightly bad about it. Put another way: if you like what you’ve heard on Plan-It-X records but wish it wasn’t recorded in a bin, this record is for you.

In terms of favourite tracks – I won’t bother commenting on every last track of a collection – I would have to pick out ‘Our Cities’, which sees Dianna on lead vocal duty in a fast-paced knees up with great lyrics like “we’ll swarm the gates / and smash the state / and take our cities back”; it also highlights a great tremulous edge in Dianna’s voice. Guy voxalist Witt takes the lead in ‘We Will Drive These Warlords Out’ – a song which for quite a while I thought was actually a cover of an old Mountain Goats song, although it isn’t at all – another up-tempo number with some fine mouth organ action and yet more excellent lyrics: “we’ll sing along / to a thousand old folk songs / we’ll sing along / to our favourite pop-punk songs / and we’ll wipe the sweat from our brow / and we’ll drive these warlords out”. If it weren’t for the fact that my life rarely finds me sat around a campfire with a bunch of people who’ve heard The Wild, I would describe both songs as excellent campfire singalong songs. Alas for the life of an Englishman.

There are plenty more great songs among the fourteen tracks on offer, but look: it’s a collection and you may have heard some songs before, it’s available for £donation or £free if you want to check it out, and seriously you should just listen to these songs and enjoy them. Me, I’m just glad that they released this and made me realise what I’ve been missing for the past two years. Don’t make my mistake!

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