Lighten Up EPWild Americans Label: Released: 09.09.16 Review by Sam Devotta | September 14, 2016 at 6:00 PM
My life is in a hole.
It’s hard to judge a band with only sixteen minutes of material. But New Jersey natives Wild Americans do their best to make an impression on their indie pop debut EP, Lighten Up, a mellow collection of four songs that convey “the acceptance of defeat, without the satisfaction of acceptance”.
Opening track “Afternoon” is the type of song you’d expect to hear in a rolicking Old West saloon, complete with a tinkling piano and sing-along ready “whoa-oh-ohs” that will have you swaying in your seat in no time. Meanwhile, “Ocean” is a languid track that sounds like its namesake—the verses wash over you soothingly before building up to the chorus. But it ends just as you’re beginning to enjoy it, and is quickly followed by the next song, “I Wanna Take You Home”, a country-fied offering with snappy lyrics like “who’s to stop us from dying?…I’m just a ghost”, and twangy guitar that makes you want to plop a cowboy hat on your head. The closer, “Loser Freaks”, is the most experimental track on an otherwise mellow effort and is probably why the band refers to their genre as “mid-tempo space music”; it has a more psychedelic vibe than the other three songs, not to mention a two-minute long outro that is seconds away from outlasting its welcome, but pulls back just in time.
Unfortunately, for all its chill vibes, twenty minutes of material isn’t enough to make a lasting impression. There’s no real coherency between the songs—each track has a different sound, which would be fine to explore on a full length, but as an EP, it seems all over the place. It’s hard to get a grip on what genre they fit into and what other bands you can compare them to, which in turn makes it difficult to focus on what elements make Wild Americans stand out from the crowd.
Buy it, Stream it, or Skip it? Stream it! They still have time to really hone their sound, but Wild Americans is set to bring something a little different to the indie music scene.