Oliver Wilde – Red Tide Opal In The Loose End Womb

Oliver Wilde - Red Opal In The Loose End Womb

Oliver Wilde – Red Tide Opal In The Loose End Womb

Last year’s debut album from the Bristol-dwelling Oliver Wilde – A Brief Introduction To Unnatural Lightyears – was part of a snowballing word-of-mouth story that gave an initially reticent artist a quick leg-up without the need to compromise.  With his promising presence logged extensively across the worlds of old and new media, a slew of live shows and recurring airplay on national radio, Wilde has benefitted from a buzz that others can take years to acquire.  Keeping up the momentum, without dining out for too long on the back of this initial wave of interest, comes Wilde’s second album, the perplexingly-titled Red Tide Opal In The Loose End Womb.

Whilst retaining much of the hazy DIY aesthetics of its predecessor, Red Tide Opal is a far more colourful and confident long-player, which bares the hallmarks of greater input from members of Wilde’s touring ensemble and other guests.  Consequently, the album shifts away from the intimate folktronic arrangements that led the way on A Brief Introduction, in favour of even more kaleidoscopic and layered-up framings.

Hence, a vigorous run of fuzzy dream-pop songs dominate proceedings on initial inspection.  Most effective in this respect are the ragingly infectious Stereolab vs. Atlas Sound delights of “Stomach Full Of Cats,” the swirling MBV-indebted “Play & Be Saved” and The Flaming Lips-via-Animal Collective glitch-pop of “Night In Timelapse.”  This isn’t to say that Wilde has forgone his delicate intricacies or more experimental tendencies; which are expressed through the burbling electronica of “St Elmo’s Fire,” via the wistful multi-voiced “Plume,” within the ambitious violin-soaked “On This Morning,” across the arcane synthscaping of “Smiler” and inside the amniotic electro-acoustic meditations of “Balance Out.”

Although increasingly adept in converging his own ideas and acknowledged influences into a distinctive composite sound, where the joins are increasingly hard to spot, Wilde should perhaps find the confidence to push his vocals further to the fore.  As revealed on a recent live session on 6Music, his warm tones are capable of surviving outside the heavily-treated coatings that are applied on his recordings.  But such a shift should hopefully come about next time around, as Wilde has consistently shown himself as an artist willing and able to grow into and extend upon his burgeoning talents.  In the interim, Red Tide Opal In The Loose End Womb is another invigorating step forward in an ongoing trek of self-discovery.

Howling Owl Records