At the beginning of this year, I heard the song “Young Wayfarer” by new group Wild International, and instantly knew it would end up being one of my favorites of the year. Beginning as a rousing, punk instrumental jam, the singers don’t come forward prominently until halfway through the song (minus some background laughs and wild cackles), but when they do, the song takes on the qualities of an empowering, head-banging battle cry. Minutes later though, the distortion drops out and we’re left with acoustic guitars and a campfire sing-along that would shame Jack Johnson (minus some “whoops” and shouts keeping things weird). It’s a multi-part, 5 minute blast of a track, and perfect for any “Young wayfarer, sailing on and on”.
When I finally got around to listening to the rest of the EP that contained “Young Wayfarer”, I was not disappointed, as it continued to showcase the diverse influences that make up this exciting group.
Opening track “Waterflaws” focuses on the afropop side of the group, with a strange assortment of sounds creating a tumbling beat, as the singer breaks in with hummable, David Byrne-ish vocals. There is a strong Talking Heads streak going through this EP, but with a pop sheen to smooth out the artsy edges. That the song ends with soulful harmonizing singing “soul”, it becomes clear there’s a touch of wry humor to the group as well.
“Emosteg” starts with a cacophonous clash of noise, before deep vocals waltz for a base-driven tune. The distorted jamming comes in and out throughout the song, taking soft/loud dynamic to amusing heights. The song, much like the band, keeps you on your toes, unsure of which direction they will go next.
“Creeks” is a softer number, with sparking guitars and crooning, accompanied by maracas and light tappings. It drags a bit, but flows well in the context of the EP. Things only get slower with the ballad “Dreams”, with Beach Boys harmonies lamenting failures to “heed mother’s warnings”, and hoping for “no more bad dreams”. I’m sorry, did I say this song was soft? It is…for half of it. Then banging drums and mariachi shuffling kicks in kick in, and it transforms into a danceable pop-rock nugget.
Closing number “Mayoridad” is a touching love song, as the lead singer pleads “Stay with me in given time”. I plead with you to stay with this EP in the given time you have. It won’t be time wasted.
Listen to Lake Tones EP on Spotify, or here: http://wildinternational.bandcamp.com/releases