After hearing and appreciating the new single “Dead Century” by Wildlife, we were only too happy to pick up a copy of the CD release on a recent visit to Ontario. Having listened to this album for a few days during my daily commute, I am left very impressed by this collection of tracks from the Toronto-based indie-rock band. Wildlife may have been around for several years, but have only just come to our musical attention thanks to the reach of satellite radio stations beyond the Canadian border.
It is pretty obvious to the casual music listener that several Canadian artists are drawing inspiration from the music influences of previous decades. This was especially evident for us when we first discovered “The Sheepdogs,” whose music transported us back to the southern blues rock of the 1970s – a modern-day salute to the likes of CCR, The Allman Brothers, and the Grateful Dead.
More recently, several artists have rediscovered, and aspire to, the melodic, synthesizer-driven pop music genre of the 1980s. We first made this connection when hearing material from Imaginary Cities and Dear Rouge, but it has become much more distinct with the emergence of artists such as Jane’s Party and The Darcys.
Whether intended or not, “Age of Everything” pays homage to the synth-pop era remarkably well. This comparison was not too evident upon hearing the radio-friendly “Dead Century” alone, but became remarkably clear after cycling non-stop through the entire CD several times. Wildlife has transported my commute, both musically and emotionally, back to an era of soda streams, Brat Pack movies and stonewashed jeans. Both “2017” and “Impossible Colours,” in particular, brought back that perception of youth and innocence, and are eerily similar to the soundtracks from those stand-out ‘80s ‘Brat Pack’ movies such as “The Breakfast Club” or “St Elmo’s Fire” (for me, soundtracks that stood the test of time much more successfully than the movies themselves).
The nostalgic musical journey comes to a climax with the outstanding “Turning to Stone.” With a complete change of direction, the intro offers hints of Pink Floyd before building into a synth-driven power ballad that demands more volume, to live in the moment, before winding back down with hints of Floyd once more. As both the album, and my temporary disconnect from the present-day, fades to a close, I have embraced a strong appreciation for sharing this journey with Wildlife. “Age of Everything” is strongly recommended.