There’s a trend right now to keep albums short and sweet; pop records rarely pass 10 tracks, keeping as close as possible to the half hour mark. For fans this can be frustrating – all that waiting for such a tiny package, with half of the songs already out as singles.
When it comes to Wild Ones, however, new LP Mirror Touch is so well-suited to this concise format that it’s hard to complain. Their punchy, honey-voiced pop is the perfect pint-sized pick-me-up, and the Oregon five-piece have the good sense to keep things brief and breezy to maximise that effect.
We’ve already heard lead single “Paresthesia” – the shuffley cut premiered at Nylon before climbing the Hype Machine chart back in August. In medical terms, parasthesia describes an unusual physical sensation, a not inaccurate illustration of Mirror Touch’s sonic effects. The album’s title is also a reference to a specific psychological sensation: mirror touch synaesthesia, in which an individual is able to experience sensations they observe happening to others. Intentional or not, Wild Ones “Paresthesia”’s distorted fuzz is the sonic equivalent of a (surprisingly pleasant) bout of pins and needles, whilst the hazy glow of “They’re Not Me”’s steel drums emulate the tingling warmth felt after knocking back a cocktail or two.
Distortion is a recurring theme throughout Mirror Touch, with Wild Ones eschewing some of the glossy sheen cloaking previous releases. These tracks centre songwriting abilities, rather than the bells and whistles of pop production. Recent single “Invite Me In” – featured in last week’s edition of Pop Never Dies (But You Will) – effortlessly illustrates this as Danielle Sullivan’s vocals soar from chorus to chorus with a practiced ease.
On first listen, you’d be forgiven for finding Mirror Touch a little same-y; Wild Ones’ current laid back approach does mean nothing quite kicks off the way previous singles have done, but give this record a little care and attention and the sheer craftmanship shines through from every sun-kissed track. The gender-bending “Wanna Be Your Man” and heady follow-up “Love + Loathing” are the stand-outs of the tracklisting, with both pushing the band’s signature sound in slightly more exciting directions than elsewhere on the record.
Mirror Touch closes on a high note, charming the listener with “Forgetting Rock N Roll” – possibly the most similar track to previous releases of theirs – before fading out with the twinkling tones of “No Money”. Blink and you’ll miss it, but although it’s over in a flash, Mirror Touch is a solid second LP from these practiced purveyors of indie-pop.