ALBUM REVIEW: Low Tides – This Wild Life

THIS WILD LIFE‘s explosion in popularity has been enormous in the last couple of years. The acoustic duo of Kevin Jordan and Anthony Del Grosso reached new heights with 2014’s Clouded and saw the band reach audiences across the globe. Two years has passed and the follow-up, Low Tides, is here. But does this new offering carry the same hooks and emotional connection as their acclaimed previous effort?

Opening track Hit The Reset opens softly and subtly, with Kevin Jordan‘s soft vocal hooks instantly capturing your attention. From there on, the track builds in volume with a delicate drumbeat and intricate guitar melodies and by the chorus the combination of Kevin Jordan and Anthony Del Grosso‘s combined vocal deliveries make for an emphatic release. This is the THIS WILD LIFE fans have come to love and the record sets the tone in grand fashion.

Following track Pull Me Out was the first single released by the band when the record was announced and there is a reason behind this. Pull Me Out is one of the strongest tracks on the record thanks to it’s intricate melodies, captivating high vocal deliveries and a truly moving chorus. The track is deeply rooted with emotional hooks, consistent throughout which snaps your attention to the slick rhythm. A track that will become a staple in the band’s live set for sure.

You get the feeling that your emotions are going to be taken on a roller coaster of a journey with Low Tides and Break Down‘s down-beat and sorrowful lyrical approach hits home hard. Kevin Jordan takes centre stage here, taking primary vocal duties for the track and the result is a track that is utterly beautiful. Those who have experienced a relationship breakdown, romantic or friendship, will instantly connect with Jordan’s soft deliveries. Let Go continues this theme in the same vein as the previous track. Guitar melodies from the duo on the track’s verses are so mellow, we’d forgive you if you miss them. The chorus however, is incredibly uplifting. Both Kevin Jordan and Anthony Del Grosso really shine here, with both excelling in their vocal deliveries. The addition of female vocals doesn’t fragment the flow of the track either. To shift the pitch and mood in such a fashion is a difficult feat in itself and the track shimmers just a fragment of the brilliance found in THIS WILD LIFE.

Just Yesterday unfortunately feels a bit flat in comparison to the first four tracks. At the mid-way point in the record, the difficult here is to keep the listener hooked and whilst the track is adequate in itself, it just lacks the same gut-wrenching emotional punch that prior tracks delivered. Fade picks things up again with Kevin Jordan softly serenading the listener and the additional use of slide-guitar techniques is greatly welcomed. It adds that extra level of mood, that attachment that one has to a band with so much to give.

At track seven, there is a lot of pressure to Falling Down. By now, the listener will have had time to digest the vibe that THIS WILD LIFE have to offer and what Falling Down does is offer a listening experience that is by far the stand out moment on the entirety of Low Tides. Subtle acoustic notes ring through whilst Kevin Jordan delivers another dose of his heart-wrenching vocal exchanges. The pace shifts as THIS WILD LIFE rock into a groove just for a moment before shifting again to the solemn and isolated vocals and intricate guitar notes. It’s chilling, hair-raising and oh so satisfying. This culminates in one of the stand-out choruses on Low Tides, with the duo really excelling with their vocals, offering varying pitches. The balance is spot on, and the ending of the track will instantly leave you yearning for more. This is what THIS WILD LIFE are about, the band have this ability to capture you in a song and make you reflect.

After such a strong performance in Falling Down, Red Room almost feels halfhearted. The mood and nature of the duo’s playing here feels off. It’s hard to describe but the track just doesn’t feel right to follow such a strong track that followed prior. It’s a shame, as just when you feel Low Tides goes from strength to strength, moments like this soften the grip the record has on you. Despite a questionable track title, Change My Sheets has some truly wonderful qualities. Soft, subtle yet immensely powerful guitars notes are delivered with absolute precision, whilst the duo serenade you with crisp highs and beautiful melodies. Palm-muted notes in the track’s verses are a quiet addition, adding that extra level of depth to THIS WILD LIFE‘s style. The track builds to a emphatic conclusion, with many elements combining to make for a wild and loud end; riffs are played at increased tempo with the vocals getting louder before abruptly closing with a sorrowful vocal line of “where did you go?” It’s moments like this where THIS WILD LIFE‘s emotional style really hits home.

Closing track Brick Wall serves a fitting end to Low Tides. Kevin Jordan introduces his signature vocal style in an instant, backed with subtle guitar melodies from Anthony Del Grosso. This pattern continues throughout the track’s verses, with added emphasis on Jordan‘s exceptional highs. Yet, the stand-out moment here is when the track shifts it’s focus, where both Kevin Jordan and Anthony Del Grosso combine to deliver some truly outstanding combined vocals. It’s incredibly moving and backed with the subtle use of orchestration, Brick Wall is a fitting closure for the record.

So has Low Tides surpassed it’s huge expectations and continued the band’s growth? Whilst there are some mishaps along the way, a few tracks that feel subdued and out of place, for the majority of Low Tides‘ duration, you feel moved. THIS WILD LIFE has this phenomenal ability to draw you in, make you feel a plethora of emotions and ultimately leaving you yearning for more. Low Tides is a fantastic new offering from THIS WILD LIFE, it is a record that will make you cry, laugh and reminisce. It is a record that truly explores human emotions and that is its biggest strength.

Rating: 9/10

Low Tides - This Wild Life

Low Tides is out now via Epitaph Records.

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