Nearly two years since the release of their previous album Low Tides, This Wild Life are making a return with Petaluma.
Figure It Out opens up the release with the duo’s trademark acoustic styling, it’s a slow but sincere start. This Wild Life have and always will be a band with substantial emphasis on their lyrical content. Each tells a story, more often relatable. In this case “I never meant to be someone who’ll let you down. I thought I’d figure shit out by now”. Headfirst starts off in the similar vein with simplistic guitar lines that capture your attention, before Kevin Jordan swoops in to serenade you. It’s heading back to cliché territory now with a love song but hey, doesn’t every release need one?
The shortest track on the release Catie Rae feels more structured, despite being another acoustic effort it has more body. Unveiled as a single at the end of May fans have been given time to become acquainted with the track, and it’s incredibly catchy compared to others on the release – you’ll be singing along to “hey hey Catie Rae” in absolutely no time.
Now we reach the really good section of the release, the power duo of Westside and Hold You Here. Westside touches upon sexual assault, from the view of the comforter towards the person affected. Kevin has previously explained this track signifies how he felt when someone close to him was assaulted and he needed to be there more than ever. “You’re tough just like your love” is just one example of encouraging the person that they are more than what they’ve been through, even if they do momentarily feel like a burden. There’s something really special about this track and the harsh but real reality of it.
Hold You Here is one of the stronger ballads on Petaluma, simplistic but sincere harmonies offer a time for reflection. This works well when paired with the hard-hitting content of Westside, provoking deep feelings within the listener. Singing of needing someone there forever, it’s a brutally honest love song and one of This Wild Life’s finer moments.
As we head towards the end of the release Come Back Down introduces some horns for good measure, instantly making us feel really upbeat and happy. There’s a lovely feel-good vibe to this track, as the chorus makes us want to get up and singalong thanks to the catchy guitars and crowd participation moments. Throughout this release, there’s been a recurring theme of loss and sadness portrayed flawlessly within their lyrics, making this a superb album.
Closing the release is Never Believe and No Need For Novocaine. Never Believe doesn’t immediately scream out This Wild Life, thanks to a poppier undertone coming through and boppy beats. Making one last good impression on us No Need For Novocaine is an indie-pop anthem in the making. Perfect for summer events there’s a swirling guitar line which dominates the track, and when mixed in with powerful lyrics about letting go and moving on it makes for a solid album closer. We have a feeling this’ll be added to a lot of playlists when people hear it!
There’s the long-running argument that This Wild Life are at risk of releasing safe, similar tracks instead of trying something new. With Petaluma, a new, fresh spark has been ignited within the duo, marking a really exciting upcoming era for This Wild Life.
Standout Tracks: There’s No Need For Novocaine, Westside, Hold You Here
For Fans Of: Real Friends, State Champs, Dashboard Confessional
Written by: Nicola Craig