Okay, so this thing starts out with some vocal “oohs,” “woos,” “yeahs,” and other silliness, and I’m immediately writing it off in my head as just another bit of juvenile bullshit. The guitar hits and it’s almost like a parody of a funk song—like “let’s take funk and make it bland!” The vocals come in and they’re just a bit too sweet, which isn’t helping. It’s only been about 15 seconds and I’m already prepared to hate this album. Then the lyrics go rapid-fire and I’m intrigued. A couple of high harmony hits and I’m smiling. By the time the song builds to its first big drop, I’m sold. This is something solid. It’s playful, but there’s feeling behind it. And when it gets to the breakdown—damn.
That first song, “Freaky Business,” creates the mold for the rest of this EP. There are layers. There is a shy seriousness to this record that hides behind a cheeky façade. The hooks will get to you and invade your head for days. The skills of the musicians are apparent without being ostentatious. The influences are all over the place and will keep you on your toes—funk, maybe a little reggae, some soul, indie pop, and by the time you get to the Rage Against the Machine-ish “Pho Kit,” you’re ready for anything. So of course the next song, “Lil Schlub” effortlessly turns from a Jack Johnson-in-a-dream piece of fluff into an odd bit of Twenty One Pilots-ish emo rap. Something like that could easily sound like garbage, but Wild Ire has the skills to pull it off.
There aren’t really too many negatives on this one. If there’s a throwaway tune, it’s the EP’s second song, “Matthew.” That’s not to say that it’s a bad song. It’s pretty good, but it doesn’t have the hooky goodness that the rest of the songs throw at you. The production on this album is fantastic, but it is just ever-so-slightly “bright” for my tastes. It feels a bit brittle—just a little. And I wish the vocals on “Pho Kit” were a tad more up front. I mean, it’s a song called “Pho Kit” (say it out loud) and I can’t quite follow why it is that I’m yelling “Pho Kit!” But I am, and you’ll be yelling “Pho Kit!” as well.
There’s a charming moment on the last song, “Sweet Goodnights,” where a slight flub on the guitar leads to a subtle laugh on the vocal track. It’s lovely and I’m glad they left it in. I’m glad I pushed through my initial impressions and let this record play. I’ve listened to it over and over as a whole and I look forward to its individual components appearing randomly when my car stereo is on shuffle. So go buy this record. Don’t just stream it. Give these people your money. Go to their shows. Get a sticker and put it on your car. Buy a t-shirt and wear it while you practice your kickflips. Your kickflips need work.