Wildhart
Shine


4.3
superb

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
November 11th, 2016 | 32 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A deep sea dive into the mysterious, unexplored depths of pop music.

In a lot of ways, pop feels like the ocean of musical genres. It covers such large portions of the Earth, yet we really don’t know that much about it. There are obviously the traits that everyone is aware of: it’s catchy, upbeat, and fun – but all too often, it is also creatively stunted and lacking in any true artistic merit. The style aims to please, and most of the time that fills the precise niche we want it to. However, the genre pool certainly hasn’t been explored in as much depth as what is undoubtedly possible, which means every now and then we will encounter something totally unexpected. Artists like FKA Twigs and Grimes have recently taught us not to get too comfortable with the umbrella-terms and stereotypes that make up the genre, because at any time someone can come along and totally shake things up – proving along the way that we don’t really know as much about pop music as we thought we did. This year, with the astoundingly diverse and exploratory Shine, it’s Wildhart that delivers that unexpected twist.

Composed of swirling electronic soundscapes and dazzling percussive effects, Shine is one hell of a debut LP from one of Sweden’s best kept secrets. Here, the trio aims to explore pop in as much depth as possible, and it’s bursting at the seams with both infectious energy and rousing creativity. ‘Broken Flowers’ feels like the cornerstone of the record, providing one of the biggest jolts of imagination to the album’s thematic makeup. While the introduction is full of distorted (and almost disconcerting) feedback, it also features one of the record’s most splendid and iridescent peaks – all atop a fearlessly experimental, electronically-charged backdrop. This description fits much of Shine, although each song adds a new wrinkle to the band’s sound. Often, as with the positively defiant opener ‘Shake Off’, it is lead vocalist Ylva Holmdahl’s gorgeous yet unsettling voice that defines the experience. On ‘Fantasy’, it’s the way the whole thing slowly unravels over the course of a two minute outro that eventually devolves into nothing more than a subtle, drone-like haze. Even on the more traditionally structured efforts such as ‘Heal’, Wildhart still manage to ensure the entire thing comes undone during the second half in a whirlwind of unnerving shrieks, reckless drumming, and a pitter-patter effect that almost resembles a xylophone. The short story on Shine is that it is extremely inventive, at times stunningly picturesque, and altogether pretty damn weird.

Although the album’s fervent experimentalism is prevalent throughout, there are certain gems here without which Shine would lose some of its luster as a boundary tester. ‘Is It Possible’ pushes the envelope more than anything else here, starting out with a theatrical vocal harmony and tribal beats before totally shapeshifting halfway through into glistening, spaced-out chillwave. ‘We Made up a Dream’ has a tropical vibe throughout, but ends with ramped up synths and a thumping backbeat reminiscent of something Nine Inch Nails would have written circa The Downward Spiral. The seven minute eponymous closer is one of the most jaw-dropping and aurally pleasing pieces of music you will likely hear this year, despite feeling like an exercise in musical entropy. In fact, that adjective right there is perhaps the most accurate single word to describe Shine: it is a beautiful, gradual decline into disorder, and the longer the albums goes on the less organized it becomes.

As a whole, Shine marks one of the most unprecedented triumphs for the pop genre in 2016. Wildhart have risen, seemingly out of nowhere, to craft a piece that in every right deserves to be in the conversation for the genre’s best album of the year. It’s a dazzling blend of pop’s most alluring traits and an untamed enthusiasm for exploring the types of creative depths that most pop artists either don’t bother with or don’t have the capacity to fathom, let alone implement. It’s electronically vibrant, vocally and lyrically passionate , incorporative of modern alt/indie stylings, and absolutely irresistible as an alternative to the stale template of contemporary pop music. Wildhart’s Shine is a game changer, and one that we can only hope will spark a chain reaction of equally inspired works.



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user ratings (30)
Chart.
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Moderator
November 11th 2016


24097 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

I really didn't have time to write this review but it's a phenomenal album and I'll be off the sputnik grid for the next week while I move. So...here.

Digging: Manchester Orchestra - A Black Mile To The Surface

wtferrothorn
Contributing Reviewer
November 11th 2016


5646 Comments


Sounds like something I'd love to death based off this review. I'll make sure to check this out before the years end.

SowingSeason
Moderator
November 11th 2016


24097 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

It's available to stream on Spotify, but if you want a quick taste this is my favorite track so far:



https://gaphals.bandcamp.com/track/broken-flowers

brainmelter
November 11th 2016


4003 Comments


seems nice

Digging: The Books - Lost And Safe

brokencycle
November 11th 2016


88 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Listened to the first couple of tracks and this is pretty sweet!



Taxt
November 11th 2016


975 Comments


Great review, I'm stoked to check this out after work.

zakalwe
November 12th 2016


22087 Comments


Album is a beaut

Evokaphile
November 12th 2016


3515 Comments


leap of faith. bought it. never really explored pop with interest so im curiously stoked after hearing this first track.

Digging: ASC - Time Heals All

SoccerRiot
November 13th 2016


2465 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Listening to this now and it's great. The vocals take a bit of time to get used to, but the instrumental work is beautiful, especially that piano

SoccerRiot
November 13th 2016


2465 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

There's almost a post-rock vibe too, it seems

Sniff
November 13th 2016


3686 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Trying to act like the new Vildhjarta. I see what they're doing here.

Sniff
November 13th 2016


3686 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Terrible jokes aside, this is quite nice. Even though to me it's nothing out of the ordinary but nevertheless a fun listen.

Evokaphile
November 13th 2016


3515 Comments


Whether its in the box or not seems moot IMO. It may be "thinkin in the box" but it makes the box pretty comfy.

SowingSeason
Moderator
November 13th 2016


24097 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

I think the thing I enjoy about this the most is how no two tracks sound alike. It's pretty playful with its direction which translates into it being really interesting and entertaining.

Evokaphile
November 14th 2016


3515 Comments


This and that Made In Heights album from last year are reminding me metal and electronic arent the only things that can captivate my ears.

Dylan620
November 14th 2016


3531 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This sounds pretty sick Sowing, will have to jam.

Digging: Lambchop - OH (Ohio)

SowingSeason
Moderator
November 14th 2016


24097 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

This may very well be my favorite pop record this year. Ariana's is undoubtedly more fun, lighthearted, and sexy, but this is risky, unique, and objectively better musically/structurally.

SowingSeason
Moderator
November 14th 2016


24097 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

It just doesn't feel like a pop album even though it is

Artuma
November 14th 2016


28646 Comments


"This sounds pretty sick Sowing"

This sounds pretty Sowing*

Digging: Converge - I Can Tell You About Pain

Dylan620
November 14th 2016


3531 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Vocals are gonna need some getting used to but instrumentally/compositionally this is great so far. "Lost" is a banger



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