Wilder Maker Zion Review For Northern Transmissions

Northern Spy Records

8.5/10

Wilder Maker

Zion

Few indie rock acts even attempt to push their songs beyond standard times, but Wilder Maker do so with a contagious energy. Their new record mixes a constantly building energy in each song with deeply emotional writing for music that is visceral on a surprising level. Though it may require a little patience, this album will certainly sound better the more you listen to it.

The dynamic mixing gives an exceptionally electric energy to “Closer To God” and one that makes its slacker blues feel more unpredictable and wild. Given how much of the song rides its one groove, as stellar as it is, it’s truly this loose sense of volume and conventions that keeps it from dragging. With its fierce shouts and exotic tones, there’s something truly inspiring about Wilder Maker on this track that instantly makes you want to see them live.

As they shift between semitones for a trippy psychedelic sound on “Impossible Summer” there’s a mix between warm, soft pop, and something more complex and dangerous. This back-and-forth provides a haunting tension throughout the song, as Katie Von Schleicher manages to find balance between the two energies. With the piercing distortion hitting harder, each side of the song becomes louder as the battling energies become a triumphant harmony. Though the final breakdown will certainly be a little divisive for some, the grandeur they add with it really makes the song feel all the more epic for it.

It does take some time to sink in but “Women Dancing Eternal” truly has a fiery spirit to its rhythms and riffs once it hits you. With brass and dreamy chorus chants roaring through the back, you want to join in its spritely, Feist-like timbres and just lose yourself to the walls of sound and tumbling drums. As it hits momentum in rocking b-sections, the track lets the brass gain a little growl to really kick the song along. While its latter half feels a little bit extra, it really drives its final chorus home for something to make it all worth the wait.

“Drunk Driver” finds Von Schleicher helming the vocals once again, as she digs deep into her own troubles to make her vocal delivery as gut-wrenching as the stories she tells. As the harmonies ring out however there’s a unified sense of strength that Wilder Maker uses to carry on through dark times. The honesty and slice-of-life poetry Von Schleicher paints the story with really enhance its already fierce arrangements. As a constantly building raw nerve, the song never lets up and becomes almost unbearably tense before it closes out.

As eccentric vocals flesh out the characters of “Gonna Get My Money” a story starts to build around its dark and ominous rock. Though the early verses feels sparse and all too simple, the subtle touches of guitar really make all the difference in making the song distinct and fun to listen to. This said, nothing holds a candle to the frantic and hilariously loud sax outro that will undoubtedly be just about everyone’s key takeaway from the song.

After so many extended rhythm and melody stompers on the album, “Multiplied” is more of a mantra chant. Though there’s a folk-like charm to Wilder Maker’s focused writing, it feels like a wasted opportunity to take it all the further. Alternatively “Cocaine Man” creates constant paranoia in its shifting grooves, and brings so much variety that they simply build on each of the parts in new ways. Once they hit their growling solos the song becomes a spontaneous conversation of beats and hooks playing off each other.

 

Words by Owen Maxwell

 

 

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