Boston-based alternative pop band The Wild Waiting has released a debut EP, Stay Gold, capable of reminding you there are only a few new things under the sun. The collection is a pleasing and seamless synthesis of alternative rock sensibilities stretched to their snapping point by elongated melody and lush quasi-orchestral textures. They maintain impressive urgency throughout and avoid any over-exuberant virtuoso trips. The Wild Waiting, likewise, hit upon a vital, balanced production style highlighting their strengths and adding an unexpectedly intimate touch. These are six songs with the stamp of the personal burned into every bar.
The opener and debut single, “All My Life”, has an appealing rolling groove and strong vocals. The harmonies are an overarching positive for the band and sport a smoky, evocative edge lending it a bit of gravitas without ever sacrificing its melodic virtues. A brief guitar solo gives the song additional sonic punch. “Burn With Me” starts with a short, echo laden guitar phrase that slithers its way throughout the entire song, but the template here is similar to the preceding cut. It’s apparent that The Wild Waiting devotes a great deal of effort and time to vocal arrangements, but the focus pays off marvelously. They structure the musical arrangement in such a way that the band hits a handful of crescendos in a surprisingly short amount of time, but it never sounds cluttered or rushed. The chiming, effects-treated guitar work returns in “Say The Right Words”, but the vocal approach has a more condensed, lighter touch here. There is a central melody underpinning the music, but flat verses dilute its impact. “Say The Right Words” has a rousing chorus, however, capable of capturing any listener’s attention.
“2AM Fearless” emphasizes guitar more than any previous song and, arguably, represents the EP’s purest nod to outright rock. It struggles with a bit of a musical identity crisis – the choruses seem consciously reaching for an anthemic moment, but the verses don’t push hard enough to help those climatic moments reward listeners as they should. The Wild Waiting seems poised to explore similar territory on “Someone To Go With”, but the track never peaks in a satisfying way. The lyrical material is quite strong, however, and the vocal stresses its merits with energy and intelligent phrasing. The EP’s title song and finale, “Stay Gold”, brings keyboards to the fore in a way the earlier songs never do. The opening verse intends to establish atmosphere before the inevitable segue into the big flourish, but the band cuts it off too short. The lush textures are quite appealing, but while it’s easy to applaud the band’s lack of self-indulgence, it’s hard to escape the feeling that they should have stretched themselves a little more here.
The Wild Waiting and their EP Stay Gold are promising and, quite obviously, developing a musical vocabulary with obvious influences, but never imitative. It seems reasonable to expect that, as their songwriting visions continues to develop, risk-taking will find its way more and more into their music. There’s a definite sense of adventurousness threaded through these songs that they are obligated to explore on future releases.
8 out of 10 stars.