Wildcat! Wildcat! - No Moon At All

Morgan Kibby takes Wildcat! Wildcat! to another level entirely.

Additional Info

8.2

ALBUM: No Moon At All

ARTIST: Wildcat! Wildcat!

2014

Alternative

A diamond in the rough, Wildcat! Wildcat! is being raised from the wilds of indie alternative music by one of the industry’s finest. Their still-tame presence online has grown exponentially since this past March, when the trio began recording their first album. These three LA-raised guys were nowhere to be heard a few years ago. Now, they’re debuting an album that carries singles on the rise, with concert ticket prices following the upswing. Jesse Carmichael, Michael Wilson, and Jesse Taylor are the cats behind the sound of Wildcat! Wildcat!, and while all sharing vocals, Carmichael is on the drums, Wilson on the keyboard, and Taylor on the bass. No Moon At All, their first full album release, has capitalized on the group’s talents and amplified them with the booming bass and dazzling electronically inspired sounds that are so very popular these days.

Their previous releases in 2013, like “Mr. Quiche,” are decently smooth and mellow singles, yet fans admitted favoritism for them due to obscurity and lack of popularity. Fortunately, the group’s new album legitimately proves that Wildcat! Wildcat!’s initial EP left them with room to grow, and now they’ve delivered. Their first self- titled EP released in September of 2013 put them at risk for sounding unrefined, with noticeable lyrical loose ends and ingenuous songwriting. That was before teaming up for production help from Morgan Kibby, a goddess singer songwriter who has worked with talents from M83 to Harry Potter.

Kibby’s contributions to Wildcat! Wildcat! took them to another level entirely. No Moon At All has epic musicality reminiscent of a chilled-out Silversun Pickups, and sounds clearly influenced by M83. No wonder, since Kibby has toured with the French electronic music band for years. Wildcat! Wildcat! has a sound that levels them with current indie innovators like Passion Pit and Alt-J. Their tracks present a possibility for depth both musically and lyrically, but it is not always cleanly executed in tandem throughout the album. For example, “End of the World Every Day”, presents an engaging hook of an introduction in both aspects, but the lack of contextual structure in the second half of the lyrics is distracting. The rhythm and sound are solid throughout, though, rescuing the track from being a dud. The group writes their songs in an attempt to rise from the hedonism polluting the airwaves, but some of the plot lines they lay out in their songwriting seem to complicate their delivery.

As seen in many budding alternative songs, the band presents over and over in their lyrics the album as a means for escape. The escape is portrayed as comforting and kind, where everyone is called a child and everything will be ok, as laid out in track one, “TOWER/ W.O.H.L”. It seems the punk-rock outcries of honesty from Nirvana (“Load up on guns, bring your friends”) in the 90’s have scared the counter-culture youths of today. Or is there another reason these themes are becoming so prevalent in indie alternative music? To speculate, maybe Miley Cyrus’s over-sexualization of the body, and excessive encouragement to not “stop” has become too much. It has pushed the opposing side of music into over compensating for too much “turning up”.

Whatever the reason, Wildcat! Wildcat! harnesses this trend with an originality of their own, adding personal anecdote and signature repetition to weave through the album. Though relatively new, the group has made crucial connections and landed invaluable gigs opening for Portugal. The. Man. and at playing at SXSW. They’ve got their foot in the door, now you just have to give them a listen.

“I found you sitting with a detonator. I found you. I found you. I found you. I lost you. I lost you among a world of haters.”

1. TOWER/ W.O.H.L.
Anticipation builds as footsteps echo around a single intensifying note. A booming bass grounds the floating, twinkling sounds with faint electronic origins. The anonymous sounds break and a smooth, grooving beat emerges. The lyrics add depth to the triumphant musical introduction. Wildcat! Wildcat! picks up a the familiar theme of building a connection with the listener, who is assumed, here, to be an adolescent. They cry, “Halo child[…] We are ok on the edge. […] Take our time, find the line we need to follow”, and follow suit to many contemporary alternative artists who use the same point to appeal to their audience. The initial track on No Moon At All promises great sound and an intriguing subject matter to follow.8.3
2. Garden Grays
“Garden Grays” opens with an ear-catching riff and continues to capture attention with the falsetto vocals. They detail a night out, like any other for the average young adult. “Heading out, another round”, paints a picture of a monotonous night of futile fun, but, they continue, “then you walked up/said it’s all on the table. Don’t carry it away. Play while you’re still young”, changes the tone of the pointless evening. The musical tone switches up as well, becoming lovely and languid with the line “everything’s burning faster for you”. The love song comes across as fresh with a real time perspective, backed by a layered, racing musicality.8.0
3. Up & Beyond
This track grabs your attention as the lyrics directly accost listener, “Wait!” Such a simple word effectively puts you in listening mode, and the layered lines of lyrics come across the speakers with an emphatic necessity. “Wait. I think I’m falling in the deepest sleep,[…] Wait. How can I sleep when there is all this heat?” Despite the contradictions, the track’s energy communicates the surrender to this compelling force, and we’re encouraged, “come, on, come on, we’re going up and beyond”. The release to go “up and beyond” takes on a more specific meaning when refined by the mind of the listener, allowing for a broad spectrum of relation to the track. “You’re not the scared old kid in the corner anymore”, they reassure.7.7
4. Hero
This track starts off with an eerie, electronic cry, and the lyrics are immediately vocalized. The storyline begins generalized, with phrasing like, “when you give and you gotta go”, again aligning the band with a struggling youth’s perspective. The content becomes increasingly specific in the second stanza with a grave admittance: “Three kids, broke home. Knocked down, but not alone”. The surrounding sound gives off an essence of open space and emptiness, as invented sounds echo off each other over a grinding bass line. The vocals are sincere and cleanly communicated, with sharp syllables and a finely cut range of notes. The story is infused with heartbreaking encouragement in a stanza that reads much like a letter. “[…]but as long as you’d think to tell me ‘call your name’, I really don’t think that I’m staying”.7.8
5. End of the World Every Day
The title draws attention, and the opening bass chords mimic the somber tone. The message depart from the usual teen angst, and takes up a story a bit more biblical. “Mister can’t you see those saints have come?/ Running from the edge of kingdom come”. It infers our world is forsaken, and we’re creeping on the “edge of kingdom come”, or pushing the limits on what the universe has provided us with. The refrain confuses and makes the listener wonder whom he directs, "I will wait for you” at. The tone bounces from uppity and romantic, then weaving back to ethereal and imaginary.6.9
6. Holloway (Hey, Love)”
“Holloway” takes up an element of fantasy that emerges first in “End of the World Every Day”. It makes reference to a “town they call holloway”, and the description of holloway paints disturbing depictions much like a Nathaniel Hawthorne story. A harmony of “Hey Love” echoes as a climbing electric keyboard builds energy around a thudding set of drums. “It’s a hell that hides in between the doors of all the shame”, increases the level of serious discourse, and “Wildcat! Wildcat!” executes an element in their songwriting that puts them a cut above the rest, though there are kinks that still need working out.8.4
7. Circuit Breaker
“Circuit Breaker” comes across as edgy with mild hints of 80’s pop rock energy. The lyrics here are simple and undeniably catchy; the vibe cultivated by the opening line, “I found you sitting by the detonator”, sparks a fearful curiosity. Again, the listener is hit with another impeccably memorable lyric, “I found you. Lost among a world of haters”. The surrounding music drops away as a solo heavy electronic bass carries the vocals, “take your hear and run/ take your hear and run/ take your hear and run”. “Circuit Breakers” is built on a satisfying amount of repetition.9.2
8. Nothing Below
A diminished electronic influence brings the energy of the album down to a lower level. The beat begins slow and languid, with their signature repetition presented in both rhythm and lyric. “(Alright) looking for nothing below./(Alright) when you are following the narrow arrow, narrow arrow”, evokes thoughts of following one’s aim until success. The beat shifts into a higher gear three and a half minutes in, yet the tempo change isn’t enough to raise the bar from monotony to quality creativity. The second half’s lyrics, “Shake it, shake it, turn around./ Shake it, shake it, turn around”, seem awkwardly immature and unimpressive. The racing, increased beat falls into a mess of crashing symbols as an electronic twinkling cascades over the entire track, and a third element is introducted to “Nothing Below.”6.0
9. Sentimental
Again, the relaxed, languid energy apparent in No Moon At All, leads the track through iridescent tones and light notes that audibly sparkle. The vocals meander along, layered over each other, “Feels just like fallin’ in love, / And then you say you gotta go”. The track moves along slowly, contemplative and reflects a fleeting encounter expressed in the lyrics. The track teeters on having qualities of immaturity and maintaining the success heard in ”TOWER/ W.O.H.L.”7.5
10. Marfa
Wildcat! Wildcat! creates another personal anecdote here beginning with, “Children raised on bread and courage.” A melancholic emotion powers through the vocals, as the group grabs their gold and their women and heads south to Marfa, Texas, a self proclaimed escape, evidently. Or perhaps Marfa was a place where opportunities were missed in a pervious life, as suggested in the lyrics, “All the times that we wasted wandering/ All the moments we faced, they won’t come back again". The track is a sweet morsel from a moment in their lives, and triggers a moment of fleeting beauty, like the last rays from the setting sun. As the album closes, the song breaks, with solo vocals chanting, “You don’t have to be alone. You don’t have to be on your own”. They’re soon backed up by a slow jamming band, and their closing track on No Moon At All becomes a triumphant salute to their first album release.8.3
Written by Shelby Tatomir
Reading and writing are my roots, making music, design, and photography sprouting branches of special interests that I am always striving to cultivate.



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