The shimmering textures illuminating the debut album from Boston’s The Wild Waiting are resolutely pop-themed anthems aimed at a broad-based audience, but listeners shouldn’t confuse their commerciality with a lack of sincerity. If we automatically conflate the two, and two plus decades of formulaic drivel will do that to people, then we have to be prepared to dismiss similarly anthemic pop efforts from many universally well-regarded artists. The Wild Waiting’s first EP, Stay Gold, makes an argument for musical and lyrical substance in pop music with a stirring six song collection.
The EP’s first single, “All My Life”, opens Stay Gold with sweeping keyboard sounds and omnipresent harmonies strengthening the central vocal. Gav’s powerful and emotive voice is ideally suited for the material. “Burn with Me” takes on a muted, slightly darker feel than its predecessor, but there’s consistent elements carrying over from track to track. The band once again relies on heavy keyboard textures providing sonic color, but the band wisely juxtaposes chiming, echo-laden guitar against the electronics for an added evocative effect. The chiming guitar work returns in “Say the Right Words”, but the keyboard surfaces are diluted in favor of a stronger rock oriented attack. The emphasis, as elsewhere, remains on melody, but the band have found a memorable way of bringing pop and rock together here to great, practically cinematic, results.
“2AM Fearless” fades in with big guitars before dissipating into lighter, vocally-dominated verses. The lyric has a more defined narrative thrust than many of the EP’s earlier songs and lead singer Gav embodies the reckless narrator with a freewheeling, impassioned vocal. “Someone To Go With” moves in similar territory and bubbles over with impressive gusto – perhaps this isn’t the album’s finest overall moment, but the penultimate song embodies the band’s attitude somehow. The Wild Waiting play life-affirming music that doesn’t view the world through rose-colored glasses, but does view life as a rich realm of possibilities. This attitude infuses every song with rare verve and, perhaps, nowhere does it manifest itself more clearly than in this song.
The title track concludes the EP with another sunstreaked musical outing. The presence of acoustic guitar is a new addition to their sound and the initial languid pacing gives the music a much different flavor than earlier tracks. The chorus explodes in a flash of keyboard color and powerful drumming. This is easily the EP’s biggest moment and pulses with a stately, considered quality quite different than what comes before it. This is a highly promising debut with a remarkably clear musical vision. One will finish this album with the feeling that The Wild Waiting have only begun exploring their songwriting abilities and that nothing is off limits for their future. Stay Gold sprawls remarkably for an EP and serves as an excellent introduction to this band’s considerable gifts.
9 out of 10 stars.
by Lance Wright