Wild Cub - "Youth" CD Review (Keegan DeWitt + Jeremy Bullock) ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Monday, August 13, 2012

Wild Cub - "Youth" CD Review (Keegan DeWitt + Jeremy Bullock)

Wild Cub - 'Youth' CD Review (Keegan DeWitt + Jeremy Bullock)
Film composer Keegan DeWitt radically changed his sound with the release of his 2010 7”, “Two Hearts” / “Reluctance”, as his songs moved from ‘singer/songwriter’ to driving, dance-inflected pop. Multi-instrumentalist Jeremy Bullock (Pico vs. Island Trees, Jessie Baylin, Madi Diaz) was part of DeWitt’s 2011 touring band and the pair of musicians have used the shimmery “new romantic” dance pop of “Two Hearts” as a jumping-off point to record a new 13-track full-length under the name Wild Cub. The band’s debut disc, Youth, was recorded last fall in Bullock’s home studio and drops on August 14th (Big Light Recordings).

Most of the songs on Youth remind me of the early 80’s “new romantic” Brit-pop (though Wild Cub doesn’t suffer from the excessive ‘over-production’ of this era). The music is atmospheric and hazy and the pulsing drums, polyrhythmic beats and a fluid (almost funk) bass line weave their way through the different songs. Keegan DeWitt’s vocals are (mostly) mixed at the same level as the music so his urgent vocals almost become one with instruments, guiding and pushing each of the songs. In keeping with the disc's continually changing soundscapes, DeWitt’s vocals are brought to the forefront on the big-sounding 80’s alt-rock number “Summer Fires / Hidden Spells” and the 50’s crooner “Drive”.

The production is warm and intimate which brings out both the exuberant (“Thunder Clatter”) and reflective/melancholy (“Streetlights”) sides of Wild Cub’s “late night driving songs", along with all points in-between. In an interview with MTVHive.com, DeWitt described the songs as capturing individual moments - as “if you picked up a still photograph and there was air running through it, like a GIF.

Youth is a collection of captured moments like moving photographs: late night drives, the limitless feeling of falling in love, the freedom of finding a true friend and co-conspirator in an immense world, the cool ocean meeting your toes on a hot summer’s day. The disc’s lead-off track, “Shapeless”, sets the evocative and cinematic tone that permeates the album. The taut dreaminess of “Straight No Turns” and “Hidden In The Night” evolve into sensuous, dance floor-ready electro-pop, while “Jonti” – with its soaring, cathartic chorus “I see it now, it’s brighter when the lights are out” – and “Wild Light” – all quirky, staccato organ and lyrical guitar-led charm – are playful art pop sing-alongs. The rich, melancholic soundscape of “Drive” highlights Youth’s moody romantic atmosphere.

Wild Cub