“My Disguise,” nestled in the middle of Baltimore-based Wildhoney’s self-titled 7” (Nostalgium Directive), is an apt description of the band’s sound – these jangly, hook-laden head boppers hide some serious frustration. The best moments of the record are the conflicts between the gnarled nests of distortion and noise and the sugar-sweet vocal melodies, like the disconnection between film violence set to doo-wop.
Yes, this characterization should recall Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine, et al. And the full-armed strumming of open string chords, the breathy vocal doublings, and the metallic, processed drum tones create an image of early 90s art school Archies. But the sound is put to work for the message of the songs. The light switch flip of verse to chorus shows the song cannibalizing itself, pedals and fills overtaking any winking sweetness. When the vocals coyly promise “I’m gonna make you like me” as the guitars squeal like an air raid siren, Wildhoney shows their awareness and an artistic intent.
Though the lineage is carefully preserved, “Wildhoney” is a thoroughly contemporary record – it’s a self-conscious curation of musical allusions used to illustrate the lyrical divide between self and persona. In an era of ubiquitous projection, not only in music but also in evry 1 of our FB #posts, it’s great to see irony used creatively for a purpose. Or, fuck it, finals are over – the songs are well written alt-pop jams with a huge sound.