Jack Tatum started his dream-pop endeavor Wild Nothing as a dorm room project—on his debut, Gemini, everything was smothered in a sea of reverb, and the simplicity spoke for itself. The record communicated on a spatial level, forming an otherworldly atmosphere. But with every record since, Tatum has shifted away from lo-fi dreaminess, aiming for something more polished and defined. The fourth Wild Nothing album, Indigo, is the culmination of such refinement.
Wild Nothing has always been a guitar-centric effort, and Indigo doesn’t wander into any untraveled terrain, making it a fairly predictable listen. Guitars ring with delay and ’80s-tinged chorus effects, but Tatum occasionally merges and layers instruments in a way that breaks the pattern. “Canyon on Fire” begins with ominous, detuned guitars that sink and swell, and “Oscillation” is a major highlight; the acoustic guitar here is propulsive and accelerated, giving the song an unexpected urgency. On “Flawed Translation,” string-synths emit a melancholic melody that surfaces between Tatum’s enthralling vocals.
Nearly every track on Indigo feels like a purposeful contribution to the story Tatum wants to tell, but there are a couple missteps along the way. “The Closest Thing to Living” has potential but feels a bit monotonous, especially following “Through Windows,” one of the record’s more energetic moments. Closing track “Bend” functions in a similar manner: It makes an attempt at grandeur, but falls short of its intended loftiness.
Indigo doesn’t quite reach the heights of Gemini or Nocturne, but remains an interesting entry in Wild Nothing’s discography nonetheless. Every album so far has been something an ’80s homage, but this time Tatum has started to utilize the shinier tools needed to honor the decade’s actual sentiments.