neon wilderness - Decline & Fall
Using some classic tools, the anonymous voice behind Neon Wilderness produces Midwestern, lo-fi, indie rock that is unique but also feels like an homage to projects like All-Time Quarterback. An homage with a bit more grit, however. Because there is absolutely no information about the project beyond it being based in and about living in Milwaukee, this is just about the music. Much of the lo-fi music being made today revolves around the pop and singer/songwriter world. You don't hear about very many bands that are recording their music in such a primitive way. It's a shame, really, because lo-fi recordings have a charm to them that full, studio productions do not. Plus, they prevent excuses being made as to why your band isn't recording something.
On their album entitled Decline & Fall, the lead off track "Army of the Dead” is pretty mellow in spite of the distorted vocals singing, "Don't you come anywhere near when I'm feeling down." "Smoke Machine" is a much more raucous song, so much so that the vocals are almost completely drowned out by the guitars and drums. I can't help but feel that it's deliberate, though. The band shows a pop sensibility with "Nuclear Homes,” a song with a really infectious verse progression. It even has a great guitar solo that makes the song almost feel like it could be jangle pop.
"Late Bloomer" continues the mellow feel of "Army" with a bit of a naughty message instead while "Science Fiction Paperbacks" brings even more pop to the gritty sound. "Ride In Cars" is a song about teenagers driving while drunk in the winter, an all-to-common occurrence here in the Midwest. Something about the snow, straight roads and flat terrain make it seem like a good idea to people with poor judgment. After six songs of electric guitar, the album gets really quiet for "Alcohol” a song built around an acoustic guitar and the struggle to keep from winding up living in a van down by the river.
I nearly couldn't listen to the title track simply because the guitar was remarkably out of tune. I soldiered on, though, and was greeted by a really great song about watching someone you care for leave town. The final song "Wiped Out” seems to be about the night after the previous song. It is simple and sad and the perfect way to end an album.
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