Album Review: “Fools” Wild Child

Photo credit: Courtesy Photo

By Rachel Toalson, Assistant Web Editor

On Oct. 2, the Austin-based indie-pop band Wild Child released their third album, “Fools.”

The band consists of seven members: Kelsey Wilson on violin and vocals, Alexander Biggins on ukulele and vocals, Evan Magers on keyboard, Sadie Wolfe on cello, Chris D’Annunzio on bass, Drew Brunetti on drums and Matt Bradshaw on trumpet.

The combination of these instruments creates an interesting and intriguing sound that captures the audience’s attention from the very beginning.

Wild Child began when Wilson and Biggins realized they wrote beautiful songs together after bonding as members of a back-up band for Danish artist, The Migrant. Wild Child grew to what it is today after the duo called friends and other musicians to help cultivate and record their sound. With the release of their first two albums, “Pillow Talk” (2011) and “The Runaround” (2013), Wild Child has developed a fan base across the nation and in various countries throughout the world.

After five years of writing, recording and performing, the band has set out on their U.S. Tour for the new album – which starts today, Oct. 7, in San Diego – as they make their way across the country, ending the tour on Dec. 12 in San Antonio.

In the midst of the writing process for “Fools,” Wilson went through a breakup with her fiancé of five years as well as witnessing her parents’ divorce. Both instances are reflected within the songs on this album. The lyrics on almost every track encompass the heartbreak and uncertainty that comes with ending relationships.

While the words are melancholy, the melodies convey a different tone.

I would describe the overall sound of this album as a “feel-good breakup album” for that very reason. The album rises and falls, exhibiting frustration, heartbreak, letting go, loneliness and remembering the one you love – or loved. In every word sung you can feel all of these emotions while compelled to tap your foot and sing along to the catchy tunes.

The album begins with the title song, “Fools.” It immediately grabs your attention with the combination of the cello, violin and ukulele and continues to hold your interest throughout with the catchiness of the chorus as Wilson and Biggins repeatedly sing, “If you have to go I’ll play the fool.”

From “Fools” the album smoothly transitions into the next two tracks, “The Cracks” and “Bullets.” These songs tell a story about dealing with the fallout and repercussions of a breakup. “The Cracks” focuses more on trying to hold on to what isn’t working, singing, “And if I say I want you back / I want you back / But who’s to say if you come back / Would it be what it was.”

“Bullets” speaks more about the fact that negativity from breakups will not be devastating for Wilson, with the lyrics she confidently sings being, “Long nights, I get sad when you’re gone / But I’m still smiling with the sun / I knew your bullets wouldn’t stop.”

From “Bullets” the album continues to develop with “Stones” and “Meadows.” “Stones” was originally intended for their debut album, “Pillow Talk,” but fit the flow of the new album better. It’s a song that feels light and fun while incorporating a jazzy, blues feel. “Meadows” is the slowest ballad on the album, which questions a significant other about what they would be willing to do to make a relationship work.

“Break Bones” is the sixth song on the 12-track album, making it the middle track. This song is aptly placed as it tells of the turning point in a relationship when you realize there is nothing more that can be done. The lyrics, “It’s getting too hard to pretend / too much to say I can’t contend / There is more breaking here than we could ever mend,” speak to that well.

From here we move into “Take It” and “Saving Face.” These songs address the after-thoughts of a relationship. “Take It” is about the trust (or lack thereof) in the failed relationship. At the end of “Take It,” Biggins is heard lightly strumming on his ukulele and speaking the words, “It’s easy / It’s easy when it’s a conversation / Just speaking.” This perfectly transitions into “Saving Face,” which begins with a similar ukulele strumming and Biggins singing the first verse of the song. The title of this song perfectly describes its meaning. In “Saving Face,” it talks about the aftermath of a breakup and striving to keep up appearances.

“Reno” is like a letter to Wilson’s ex about dealing with the separation. She sings in the chorus, “Could search the whole world round / Always know my heart is in your hometown.” The next track on the album is titled, “Oklahoma” (no, not the musical or the state). The song is about wanting to hold onto something or someone even when you know it most likely will not work out.

Possibly the happiest track on the album, “Bad Girl” is about the birth of Wilson’s baby niece. You’ll find that you can’t help but tap your foot to this melody.

“Trillo Talk” is the final song on the album. The placement of the song is perfect as the lyrics suggest that while the relationship ended, it’s not the end of the world as Wilson sings, “You want the truth I’ll be alright.” This song ties a nice little bow on the album signifying its end.

Wild Child possesses the unique talent to embrace the negative experience of heartbreak and be completely honest about it while continuing to fill listeners with joy.

Rating: 5 out of 5