Review Summary: “We spend our dawns running with wolves, and the afternoons swimming with sharks.”
The most engaging facet of Sims' latest full-length Bad Time Zoo
was its inherently fun nature, because around every turn there was something just a little different for the listener. Each song successfully stayed within the parameters of the album's theme without giving in to a predictable structure. And while it was fairly varietal musically, there was still obvious indications that Sims knew what he was aiming towards. The release was saturated with lyrical motifs, as well as musical ones (the most obvious one being the heavy soul influence and utilization of an actual band), and this usage of grand themes furthered the album's level of poignancy to the listener. The reason that Sims' most recent past is essential to contemplate here is that Wildlife
is a step in a new direction for the Doomtree rapper.
Sims has always written material about topics that he deems important, but at the same time he has been known to indulge himself in tracks occasionally that are a respite from the more heavy substance. That's one noticeable difference between Wildlife
and Sims' more recent releases, that there's no “LMG” on here (thank goodness). Every song is meticulously constructed and feels much more planned out than before. Also, one thing that sets this new EP apart is its new usage of electronics. While actual instruments do emerge to add further flavor, they only add to the existing atmosphere created by the overarching bass and more focused percussive elements. For instance, the utilization of the choir in “Here I Stand” serves its purpose rather well, contributing a feeling of importance to a track that otherwise might not stand too powerfully on its own. We even see Sims flirting with the idea of ambient backdrops for his music, as the main hooks of the EP's first half are beautifully crisp and serene. However, there are moments where the release's “hooks” feel more feigned than anything, like the awkwardly empty introduction of “The Line” that's comprised of only one voice, or the moments where Sims actually sings. If it were notes that were deserving to be placed at the forefront, then it would work well with the dynamics within Wildlife
, but it comes across as a little over-the-top and uncomfortable.
One of the most glaringly obvious reasons that Sims has been received so well by his fans, after all, is arguably his potent societal lyrics, often revealing truths we need to consider. He forgets that every now and then here with the usage of new technology to achieve his goal. Overall, though, Sims' transition into a more digital soundscape is a much welcomed change, and he pulls it off rather well.