Off the bat, Nocturne is an absolute joy. Hats off to Jack Tatum and his band for crafting an absolute gem of an album and its conceptualisation is complete and unabridged right from the off. Everything about the album is cohesive, the name, the tracklisting, the writing, playing and production. It’s as if they created a child-proof saferoom out of music; no corners, plenty of soft edges and no shards or fragments left lying around.
‘Shadow’, the opening song, arrives with a brief, soft ethereal drone before the brightness of the guitars and deep, sparse bass and soft percussion set the tone for the remainder of the album. By the time the vocals come in, you’re inside Wild Nothing’s woozy soundscape, simply nodding your head. And there’s that cohesiveness again, ‘Shadow’, ‘Midnight Song’, ‘Paradise’, every song name and every song are fully realised and maintain that soft, pleasure filled half-asleep quality. Even when Tatum lowers his register for sections of the title track it works so well with the shimmering backing vocals and barely-reverbing synths that it’s as if they’re the same sound. ‘This Chain Won’t Break’ and ‘Counting Days’ offer slightly more upright tempos but again Tatum’s vocals and Nathan Goodman’s guitar hang over them like a silk drape and all but render the solid beats as no more a threat to comfort the tag on a pillow.
Taking elements of the Cure’s synth-pop and Twin Shadow’s retro craft and some of the most simple and effective melodies you can imagine, Nocturne just goes from song to song without ever losing sight of the overarching aesthetic of the album. And even if the ‘dream-pop’ and ‘shoegaze’ tags are loaded sentiments, this work seems either blissfully unaware of just has no interest in such matters. Tatum still lays out his anguish for the entire world to hear but this remains a beautiful and uplifting piece of work full of the most smile-inducing musical elements you’ll hear this year.