Album Review – Wildfires (Skateland) by Wildfires (Self released) (2021)


Eight years after their debut EP and four+ years after their last one, Houston’s Wildfires have finally provided us with their first full length release. This in itself seems quite bizarre for so many of us who have considered them something of a favourite for much of the post 2010 Bandcamp era.
During this time they have certainly deserved our patronage and now this release fully vindicates it. Primarily, Wildfires are at their absolute best on this release when they just let it move through the gears of noise layered dynamismcertainly . It’s where they appear to be at their most natural.
This is most apparent in Cousins, Puppy Love, Low Energy and Legacy which all have that Thousand Yard Stare appeal that places one foot in the realms of shoegaze, whilst defiantly trying to squeeze the rest of its musical body through grumbling fuzz and raucous power-pop guises. These tracks have a sense of bombast that  augmented by the earliest of 90’s, Primal Scream type vocals.
The remainder of the album presents a beautiful antithesis to the core grumble described above. The Cry style chiming jangle, mutated with the more obvious inferences that late 80’s post punk stylistics had to offer, is seen in Belongs to the Night, It Stopped Over Us and I’m Alive.
Such tracks are pretty enough to ensure that even the visits to the parameters of the washed out Tame Impala aesthetic heard in King of Lonely and Endless are not entirely surprising and immediately forgiven.
Wildfires are finally (properly) back/here and it is plainly well worth the wait !!!


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