Wild Pink, “A Billion Little Lights”

Wild Pink
A Billion Little Lights
ROYAL MOUNTAIN
7/10

Formed in earnest in New York City near the middle of the last decade, Wild Pink could be considered the archetype of thick, dreamy indie rock, a sentiment that is only furthered by the band’s third studio album. Without relying solely on abstract descriptors, A Billion Little Lights sounds exactly how one would think an album with such a title—from a band called “Wild Pink”—would sound. It’s hazy, sparkly, and full of atmospheric character, making it agreeable and easy to digest. 

Drawing on the modest arrangements of Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen, the band explores rich soundscapes, from the choppy “Family Friends” to the front-loaded, Lindsey Buckingham-esque shuffle of “You Can Have It Back.” Elsewhere, frontman John Ross mixes organically pastoral vocals (“Bigger Than Christmas”),  jumpy rhythms (“Pacific City”), and warbly arpeggios (“Amalfi”) with a diverse palette of instrumental flavors. 

On “The Shining But Tropical,” drummer Dan Keegan pounds out a bombastic backbeat that plays well against Ross’ vocals, while “Die Outside” showcases the more grand and imposing side of the band’s compositional prose. Credit should also be given to bassist T.C. Brownell who, in a perpetually understated way, anchors the mix with efficiency and prudence. Supported by producer and engineer David Greenbaum (Beck, Cage the Elephant, Gorillaz), the songs feel polished and well-built.

Without seeming pretentious or self-indulgent, A Billion Little Lights is a roomy and spacious effort that fits bashfully into the existing corpus of contemporary indie. Wild Pink may not have broken any ground here, but they’ve walked comfortably upon existing sounds, constructing settings that are fittingly warm. 

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