I first heard about This Wild Life when my youth leader sent me a video of them performing a cover of Bring Me The Horizon’s “Sleepwalking”. I was blown away but didn’t think much of the band at the time as I assumed they were just some insignificant cover band that I’d never hear from again. A few months later, I see the news that Epitaph Records had signed This Wild Life and that they were scheduled to release their debut album Clouded. I was a bit shocked in the heat of the moment but then I decided to listen to the single – “History” – that was released alongside the announcement. It blew me away. At that moment I knew that I was going to fall in-love with this band and fall in-love I did. This Wild Life is the perfect demonstration of what happens when you let two men armed with acoustic guitars, beautiful voices and brilliant song-writing abilities dabble in the genre of emo. What they create is something that Dashboard Confessional could only ever dream of creating. I may have committed an act of blasphemy there but This Wild Life are just that good.
Clouded starts off with the emotionally heavy yet delicate “Concrete”. Although, all of This Wild Life’s songs are emotionally heavy so this song really serves as a means of informing you that this is going to being an album driven by pure emotion. The song introduces you to the major themes of life, love and loss that is prevalent throughout the album. Maybe not the most original of themes yet the way This Wild Life delivers the songs is beautiful. The dual vocal harmonies of Kevin Jordan and Anthony DelGrosso are beautiful enough to mark your heart melt as they deliver truly remarkable lyrics like “Just need a day to shed this deadweight / and get my head straight”
“No More Bad Days” sees This Wild Life delivering an indie folk song with an emo flair to it. There is a delicate guitar strumming which remains constant throughout the song. There is also the presence of a string quartet on the song which adds to the delicate nature of the song. The song encompasses the theme of love, never giving up on somebody and just playing with the cards life gives you with the hope of making a living for yourself. The lyrics of the song yet again display This Wild Life’s writing talents as it opens with “I thought we hit rock bottom and then the floor gave out.”
As mentioned before, “History” made me fall in-love with the band. It is the epitome of acoustic emo music. It appeals straight to the sappy heart-broken hopeless romantic inside of me. I am also a sucker for two men armed with acoustic guitars singing a beautiful song about a break-up and moving on. There is one lyric in particular that really does it for me and that is “We’ve got a lot of history / but there is too much space between you and me”.
“Better With You” features an amazing surprise for all Tonight Alive fans. That is correct. The beautiful Jenna McDougall performs guest vocals in this beautiful emo love ballad. We’re used to hearing her vocal style being featured on Tonight Alive’s edgier pop punk sound, with maybe the exception of “Amelia”. Her voice fits the song perfectly and forms a brilliant harmony with Jordan’s and DelGrosso’s vocals. The song is hauntingly beautiful and will definitely make you feel a range of emotions from sad to hopelessly in-love.
This Wild Life delivers a fantastic debut effort with the rest of the tracks on the album. Songs like “Looking Back” have an edgier feel to them as they sing about life. “405” closes this 10 track emotional journey with a rather upbeat pop punk sound which lifts your mood after listening to music that is bound to make you feel something.
That is what it is all about though. Making music for the sake of making you feel something. That is true musicianship. Writing something that is truly genuine and raw is what music is about. That is what This Wild Life has done. They dug deep into themselves and extracted this ridiculously beautiful album that will make you feel alive. A devastatingly beautiful debut effort that is bound to take them far.