With this latest effort, 5-man Canadian band Wildlife has made a valiant effort to separate their sound and aesthetics from the similarly named British Band The Wildlife. The theme of the album is all about relinquishing one’s emotions, succumbing to its’ pains and joys.
The album opens with the sound of an organ for “If It Breaks” The organ are not those of the wedding variety, but the ones heard at funeral processions. The vocals sways in, and immediately one can tell this album is going to take a pretty depressing dive. It does, albeit transient. The organ dies out into a single instrument, and it highlights lead singer Dean Povinsky’s vocals well. The lyrics affords the track its depressing nature.
“Though your heart sat next to mine, If it breaks I’ll give it back”
It has a short run of a little over 2 minutes for a beginning track. Maybe too long to be considered an “intro” to the album. As far as commencement tracks go, this did not do it’s part to lead the way for the rest of the album. The next several tracks on that fill out On The Heart are distractingly misleading. The remaining 11 songs are in such stark contrast to the isolated vocals on If It Breaks, it sounds like a whole different album altogether. As I was listening to the album, I noted exactly two things. 1st Song -sweet, heart-aching. Rest of album -shouting, and Drums.
Ultimately, it wasn’t that the album lacked synchronicity, it just should have segued a bit more fluidly. On Born to Ruin, there are drums, rhythmic percussions, and rebellious lyrics that sounds more like an abandoned Springsteen single than the soulful ache of track 1.
The rest of the album is equally fast-paced and uptempo. The songwriting on this album is worth the attention, with strong analogies and coherent lyricism. Bad Dream is a song with a creative story hidden in the lyrics. It tells the tale of 2 lovers, Anemone and Kerosene. It is very literal, the beginning verse is “This is the story of two lovers, Anemone and Kerosene”
Continuing with “Liquid Burning like a torch in the bottom of the sea”
Throughout the album is a very consistent theme of vulnerability and dependance. Dean Povinsky has a lovely, fragile voice that emerges well within all the background activity. On some tracks it works, on other tracks his vocals are one more things lending to the incoherence of the song. It’s a great effort, but the musical torch Wildlife carries for On The Heart is a dim and fading one.