A whiny, granular guitar starts off Mind in Distress, met soon by the pleading, powerful voice of Sumher Brown. Alabama isn’t usually associated with beaches and surf, but Wild June seems to be here to change that. Through concise indie-pop, post-punk tunes Wild June delivers a delicious combo of ease and anxiety that only youth can explain.
The trio behind Wild June includes Matt Howell (guitar/bass), Michael Beatty (drum) and Sumher Brown (vocals). Wild June is the recognizable product of those who have grown up in the late ’90s and early 2000s in both their sound and overall persona.
They claim influence from surf punk, lo-fi California revival and also combine elements of ’90s post-punk. Brown’s voice for instance, is at times akin to Dolores O’Riordan of The Cranberries. Also in the late ’90s realm is their oddly charming, and intentionally naive album art. It looks like it wandered straight out of Microsoft Paint circa 1998.
Despite these influences, Wild June sounds distinctly contemporary. In the same vein as Best Coast, Wavves, Mitski and Radiator Hospital, Wild June combines surf sounds with lyrics that verge on angst (in the best way possible).
In just four, short tracks they bring us into the intimate crevices of their lives, while also sending us out into the ocean where we can be alone. Their imperfections aren’t ironed out. Their sound seems to come straight from the gut. While their raw sound is partly what makes Wild June a good summer listen, at points their rough edges could use some smoothing.
Wild June both embraces the legacy of surfer rock while also providing a fresh perspective. Often their lyrics are the best representation of this. On the track, “Tales of the Riptide Possession” Brown sings “I’ll leave my doubts on the shore, hang ten, wait for the tide to come in.” On tracks such as this one, they find a balance between cynicism and emotional honesty and it carries the EP.
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