Band: This Wild Life
Album: Low Tides
Label: Epitaph / Indigo
This Wild Life have only been around since 2010 but they've already had multiple lives. The duo of Kevin Jordan and Anthony Del Grosso met as outcast drummers in their hometown of Long Beach, California, and eventually formed a well-received punk act. However, they eventually started to notice that their fans seemed to gravitate toward the duo's acoustic material, which inspired them to form This Wild Life six years ago. Correspondingly if 2014's Epitaph Records debut album Clouded saw them transitioning from stage dives to sing-alongs, their new album Low Tides shows the duo taking their songwriting to the next level by fleshing out these ten tracks with expanded arrangements and inventive instrumentation. In other words, it isn't as much a reinvention as it is a progression and one that's as memorable as they come.
In the same way that Clouded saw This Wild Life transitioning into the acoustic realm, Low Tides sees them continuing that fearless process of evolution... although it wasn't an easy decision from the start. “A big part of what helped us make this record was the encouragement of Brett Gurewitz,” Jordan explains, referencing the label's owner and guitarist for Bad Religion. “He sat us down and said, 'Most bands don't change enough, so if you guys are proud of these songs don't be shy about trying new things and just go for it,” he continues. “Once we heard that our label owner was on board we knew we could make the record we wanted to make instead of just writing songs that we thought people wanted to hear.” That spirit of liberation is dripping all over Low Tides from the ominous aura of “Let Go” to the falsetto-friendly finale “Brick Wall”
“We went into this album much more open-minded than we did on the last one because we've listened to so much new music over the past three years,” Jordan explains, adding that the fact that they had more time to write and record their music this time around is another reason why Low Tides feels more fully formed. Additionally, splitting the recording duties between two producers—Copeland's Aaron Marsh and their friend Sir Sly's Jason Suwito—allowed the band to play to their strengths in a way they never have before. “Aaron is so great with organic instrumentation like strings and harmonies which we really wanted to shine through on this album,” Del Grosso explains. “Alternately Jason is a really modern producer who dove more into the moody electronic and ambient elements.” The result is the best of both sonic worlds, a fact that's evident in every note of Low Tides.
Another thing that's endeared This Wild Life to their fans is the intensely personal nature of their lyrics and the band don't pull any punches in that regard this time around. “The songs that scare me the most tend to be the ones that people connect to the most so I felt like I had to be completely open when we were writing this album,” Jordan explains. “There are some lyrics on the album that were really uncomfortable for me to write but since they were coming from such an honest place I hope that people will perceive it in a good way.” This is especially notable on “Break Down” which is a love song that's as messy as relationships are in real life and proves that you don't need metaphors and fancy wordplay in order to write a song that's relatable on a raw, emotional level. In some ways This Wild Life's direct approach makes it more real-sounding.
In other words, when the duo sing “I'm learning when to let go” over shimmering synths and crashing drums on “Let Go,” they mean it and in that spirit they've also embraced their past as a conduit for helping them become the band they are today.
When you consider the way the songs on Low Tides themselves to like performances it seems inevitable that this is the moment that takes This Wild Life out of the background and propels them into the spotlight. “For the first time in our career I think we have the production and the live show to take our performances to the next level and the songs on this album really embody that leap forward as well,” Jordan summarizes. But don't take our word for it, check out This Wild Life when they come through your city and witness their power and beauty firsthand.