Review Summary: The indie recipe for success goes stale.
Kind of like instant coffee, self-renovation and any ‘do-it-yourself’ self-assembled piece of Ikea furniture, Headlights’ latest album - while fun - feels manufactured and cheap. I imagine that the band, dressed in stereotypical peacoats, scarves and turtleneck sweaters, trotted into a Wal-Mart, plucked a “Make a Cute Indie Album in 5 Minutes!
” package off the shelves and marched right back home to throw it in the microwave and call it Wildlife
. In the nicely packaged Indie-kit that Headlights purchased is all the essentials you need to be a successful pop act: handclaps, dueling girl/boy vocal harmonies, organs, finger snaps, wistful lyrics, major key acoustic guitar strumming and general benignity throughout. Yet it’s immediate with only one listen and a quick glance at the nutritional information that Wildlife
is a stale affair -- it’s perky, classy and a lot of fun but it’s been done a million times before by people with far more ingenuity.
This musical familiarity is not necessarily bad; music does not need to go to bold, new places in order to be successful and for this fact, a lot of Wildlife
is worth a listen. Opener ‘Telephone’ has a very deliberately fun main hook and more-than-adequate instrumentation while songs like ‘Get Going’ and ‘Wisconsin Beaches’ are carried entirely by the band’s ethereal and constantly harmonizing vocals. Yet most of Wildlife
is just too familiar or just too boring; ‘Secrets’ is irritatingly peppy, ‘You and Eye’ is too hypnotizing to be interesting and the occasional percussive experimentation on songs like ‘Teenage Wonder’ and ‘Love Song for Buddy’ sounds just out of place. So, no matter how awesome closer track ‘Slow Down Town’ may be or how catchy ‘Telephone’ is, Wildlife
’s predictability is inexcusable; Headlights’ motif had grown stale before the band had even begun to record the album. Wildlife
simply, and unfortunately, is an ordinary brand of pre-packaged indie-pop that is too unoriginal to take seriously - so while the potential may be there, it truly hasn’t been realized yet. Here’s to hoping Headlights will come into their own in the near future.