From its very name and the synthesised, bass-heavy rumble of opener, Wild Light seems poised to carry on where Sheffield’s 65daysofstatic left off with 2010’s We Were Exploding Anyway. Heat Death Infinity Splitter is bombastic fare, fit to soundtrack a sci-fi blockbuster, and its legato melody line surely ranks among the most memorable hooks of this year.
Yet this track is not representative of the album as a whole. Name aside, Wild Light lacks the excess and aggression of 65’s early material. Standout tracks like Prism and Unmake The Wild Light tease the listener with abrupt dynamic shifts that belie a more aidback approach (Blackspots is the rare, crushing wave of sound here).
These dynamic shifts are found elsewhere, on Sleepwalk City, and it’s these that define the record. It’s no less vital for the absence of aggression, and every bit as thrilling. Established in 2001, the band tested the listener on early albums, goading them into restless motion.
That they now prefer to connect emotionally is writ large across Wild Light, and whereas they used to hit that sweet spot in a scattershot, hot-blooded manner, a song like Taipei shows they’re now able to hit it by design. Progress indeed.