R&R | PDX Lo-Fi Rock Darlings Wild Ones Settle in Telluride for a Night

06/13/14 | By | 346 views More

The intro to “Golden Twin” from Wild Ones 2014 studio release Keep It Safe uses a basic gated synthesizer loop, standard snare and bass drum with high hat, and an open guitar strumming you would expect from any indie rock band that bends toward lo-fi characteristics in the 2010s. Yet it does get really interesting when frontwoman Danielle Sullivan comes in with her sweet, sleepy vocals reminiscent of the No Need To Argue era of The Cranberries. The sound manufactured in Portland is atmospheric, without giving up its uncanny sway factor that even the most simple of rhythms can instigate.

WILD ONES (Courtesy photo)

WILD ONES (Courtesy photo)

This audible revival is not surprising for anyone paying attention to the subtle rumblings of 90s alternative rock making a return to Millennial’s playlists. For better or for worse, depending on who you ask, it doesn’t sound exactly like it, but is more of a thread between the danceable pop rock that has dominated the last half decade, and the grunge-lite sensibilities that made the last decade of 20th century the most underrated of the entire 100 year stretch.

Much like the synthesizers that replay on “Golden Twin,” the entirety of Keep It Safe can’t kick a few sonic habits throughout. Digital drum pads sometimes determine tempo, and airey keyboard effects provide a shallow canvas for Sullivan’s playful singing. Then every time the pattern locks in, the band throws in a unique bridge, or jumps into an unexpected switch with a bouncy hook. The music is fun, and simple, but not because anything about it is basic. More because its easy on the ears. It has hidden facets within that register well with fans of Dolores O’Riordan and bands like Garden & Villa, or just anyone that likes their pop music to include talented musicians playing instruments and writing meaningful songs.

We are lucky to even have the band to dissect. Just two year ago their guitarist Clayton Knapp blew out his eardrum, and their drummer left the band, only to have the replacement Seve Sheldon puncture his lung. Dreadful health issues abound, all of the band’s funds went into a year of writing, and nine months of tedious recording, to finish their debut album. A DIY, hands on approach combined with a  full band, democratic system explains the extended timeline in the studio, but also the overt quality of the final product. Each member is heard: the punk influence of guitarist Nick Vicario is there in ways you wouldn’t expect, and classical musicianship of bassist Max Stein finds a way to make a mark. It is rare that this breed of band would make its way to the Telluride, but in an attempt to offer some much needed variety, the Fly Me To The Moon Saloon will host Wild Ones tonight.

Wild Ones, Thu., Jun. 12, Fly Me To The Moon Saloon, 10 p.m., $10

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