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Review by Alex Bear | June 4, 2014 at 2:00 PM

“When the world gets loud, I get louder”

They might be from a pretty chilly part of the world, but Vancouver-based band Hedley are bringing the message we’ve all been waiting for: summer is coming. Their fourth album Wild Life has already seen huge success in Canada and they’re ready to take on the rest of the world with their classic electro-pop anthems. So get ready for the hottest night of your life, packed into the space of just under 40 minutes.

With slow clapping and a cheeky laugh that could be the start of a Justin Bieber hit single, “Anything” quickly redeems itself through its enormous hooks and gang vocals. It’s so explosive you’ll want to scream the chorus from the top of a rooftop. Once you’re all warmed up and ready for anything, “Crazy For You” is where the album really gets into its stride. This song could be a Daft Punk B-side, only they’ve taken all best the elements of a feel good dance track and added in those catchy pop lyrics Hedley are so expert at writing.

Continuing the synth-heavy theme, “Headphones” is the perfect song for (you’ve guessed it) your headphones. You could be stuck walking in the middle of a busy street with nowhere to go, but all you need is this dynamic beat in your ears to put a huge smile on your face. And you won’t need to be sad when it’s over, “I’ll Be With You” keeps up a bouncy rhythm you can’t resist bobbing your head to.

“Pocket Full Of Dreams” is a sudden but surprisingly welcome respite–and you’ll find yourself appreciating this quiet bittersweet ballad. If the first four songs are a night on the town, “Pocket Full of Dreams” is the introspective walk home when the streets are deserted. But be sure to keep up the pace because “Mexico” is the blinding glare of a summer sunrise. Jacob Hoggard’s vocals come into their own here, layered artfully over sitar-like riffs that belong in a desert more than on this album. This song is drastically different to the rest of Wild Life but it’s so catchy you’ll go with it–it really works.

“Heavin in our Headlights” is where the band turn country. There are some interesting analogies here–”We’re like Bonnie and Clyde, making off with Mary Jane”–and the reverb-synths give the song its trademark Hedley sound. It’s not their strongest moment but they’re definitely not afraid to experiment. “Dreaming’s For Sleeping” is back on dance-form, but the soft ‘oohs’ ease you in.

Ticking all the boxes of a classic pop-rock album, the title track delivers a piano ballad in fine form. For the first time it shows a vulnerable side to the band, caught somewhere between the melancholy sounds of The Maine and the eerie synths of Owl City. This is a song to fall asleep to. But if you’re not ready to call it a night, Hedley have one last kick in them. “Got Love” has more energy, in its staccato beats and heart-racing rhythms, than a shot of adrenaline. Back to the piano, “All The Way” closes the album with echoing grace and shows off Hoggard’s impressive vocal range.

Wild Life is unexpected, thrilling, and everything a crazy night out should be. Some of these songs don’t quite fit in with Hedley’s confident dancefloor persona but, one thing’s for sure: no matter where this album takes you, Hedley are ready for anything.

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