There are love songs, there are breakup songs and then there are the songs on indie-pop band Wild Child’s newest album, Expectations. They describe relationships in limbo, which is an all-to-relatable status nowadays. The members of Wild Child have successfully managed to mature sonically while still remaining true to their fundamentals. While the band has certainly grown in numbers over the years, the tracks on their newest album succeed in paying homage to their earlier, simpler days.
Expectations is by far the Austin-based band’s most passionate album. The lyrics are introspective and especially impactful alongside Kelsey Wilson’s powerful vocals.
While the first track, “Alex,” is my personal least favorite of the album, I have to respect the choice to kick off the somewhat serious album with a more lighthearted sound. Now don’t get me wrong; the track still has the same push-and-pull relationship drama storyline that much of Expectations deals with. Title track “Expectations” builds momentum until around 3:20, where you can really hear Wilson’s emotions pour out through the vocals. At one point, her voice actually reaches a scream, which would almost seem out of place for Wild Child, but context justifies the move, and the experiment is magnificently successful.
The title track, along with other up-tempo tracks including “Back & Forth” and “Think It Over,” demonstrate not only Wilson’s vocal chops and passion, but also the growth and development of the rest of the band. This many-layered album is a particularly good example of the wide range of talent Wild Child contains. Whether it’s a trumpet, violin, cello or ukulele, the band seems to always find a way to build upon their sound.
The slower tracks on Expectations are no exception. “Follow Me” is arguably the band’s most sensual song to date. And I can’t ignore the fact that the combination of “Sinking Ship,” “My Town” and “The One” legitimately made me cry. You know you’ve got a powerful album when one fourth of it brings out actual tears.
There were times in Wild Child’s 2015 album, Fools where I felt they were getting dangerously close to losing their signature, stripped down and simple sound. Where Fools lost that, Expectations has found it again with ease. “The One,” released as a single and as a music video, reminds me that it’s the harmonies of Kelsey Wilson and Alex Beggins that first made me fall for this band. While the rich texture found in their more upbeat tracks relays more passion at times, there’s nothing like Beggins’ ukulele.
Overall, Expectations pulls at your heartstrings. I hate to fan girl even more, but here’s to hoping we won’t see the last of Wild Child anytime soon.