There’s something about a xylophone, isn’t there? Something for a tropical mood-setting, yes, but also something to marvel at when it’s used perfectly (and not in the context of buskers doing twee covers outside Stratford station). That perfection is what Wild Nothing – aka Jack Tatum – masters to illustrate the start of Life of Pause: sit down, grab a cocktail, and lose yourself in utterly resplendent indie-pop.
If Reichpop is a beginning most splendid, it segues magnificently into something a bit more traditional – the lo-fi synth sounds of Lady Blue, with Tatum’s washed out vocals adding the perfect texture to the lush instrumentation around it. That’s kind of the highlight throughout the record, as it happens – every song feels like it’s welcomed the right amount of components to the party, never crowded but a room full of the right amount of instruments.
There is a slight feeling that Tatum has gone to the Ariel Pink school of melody recently – A Woman’s Wisdom could be a souped-up offcut from Pom Pom – but it’s wrapped in such romantic form that it could only really be a Wild Nothing song. The result is an utter dream of a record, rising above the mid-section ennui for a glorious finish between To Know You and the twinkly goodnight of Love Underneath My Thumb. “I’d take a life of pause just to so I could be near to you,” sings Tatum on the breezy title track. Funnily enough, we’d take this Life of Pause a thousand times just to be close to songwriting this good.