Wilder Dreams from Buffalo, NY's Wooden Waves, is a little twee, a little raucous, a little sour, a little sweet, a little serious and a whole lot of fun.
In the early '90s, before the music world splintered into a million scintillating micro-genres, there were alternative and college rock. Meaning, it wasn't unlikely that somebody was into the childlike chirping of The Vaselines, the mighty guitar roar of Mission Of Burma, hardcore straightedge punk rock, dub reggae and a smattering of non-Western musics. And while this, most likely, never changed, particularly among musicologists, artificial genre dividers were created to better market music to specific demographics.
And while this may be good for the bottom line, it is disastrous for music's continual development, not to mention creating unnecessary rifts among the underground.
Wooden Waves heals this schism, bringing together power pop anthems like "It's Only Sky," post-punk ennui ("Songs For Sweatypalms") and lazy, swaying acoustic guitar ("Let The Fun Come"). Things are prevented from ever getting too serious with sugary background vocals courtesy of Nikki McIntosh and little hints of toy keyboards.
The second track "My Fiend At Night" doesn't waste time getting to the meat and potatoes of the song. It's vocal melody is infectious and the combination of of spoken word sample and guitar solo somehow works. "Song For Sweatpalms" is a visceral punk rock-esque purge while "Let the Fun Come" is sparse song revolving around acoustic guitar, vocal harmonies and bells. As the album progresses there are a couple of other highlights including "Pink Slime" and "Big Wheel."
Wilder Dreams remind us that both The Pixies and The Vaselines were favorite bands of Kurt Cobain, that there is no reason why we can't like both, why we can't all just get along.
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