Since arriving in the summer of 2009, Jack Tatum’s Wild Nothing is one of the few C86 style projects of recent years to not play themselves into obscurity. Whilst others grew tiresome or just simply ended, Tatum continued to explore what was possible for his project. With his latest release (2016’s Life Of Pause) adding more and more ingredients to the mix, Wild Nothing has become an outlet for some of the best synth guided jangle pop around.
Currently nearing the end of some of their biggest live shows to date, Wild Nothing have been supporting Kings Of Leon on their arena tour. But all that doesn’t matter now as they’re headlining a sold out show at Manchester’s Deaf Institute. As Tatum and his live band make their way to the stage, they’re met with a rapturous applause. Tatum, cladded in all denim and a black beanie, looks shy as he picks up his guitar. However, this was all this was about to change.
Beginning with the title track of his 2012 release Nocturne, Wild Nothing come to life within an instant. Immersing the room with simmering guitars and lavish synths, Jack Tatum and his live band replicate the track with pinpoint precision. Other tracks from this LP, such as Only Heather, Shadow and Disappear Always, follow suite and really show off how intricately crafted Tatum’s work is.
The real gem however is Paradise. A soothing and pulsating ode to the 1980s, Paradise is above and beyond anything else Tatum has recorded. Nostalgic, emotive and utterly gorgeous, it was as if everyone on the venue was being soundtracked to their very own 80s movie.
Other material came from Wild Nothing’s latest record. The piano led Adore is one the set’s biggest surprises, which culminates in a drippy and psychedelic finale. Other Life Of Pause tracks comes in the form of Lady Blue, Alien and Japanese Alice. Much like everything else tonight, Tatum and co manage to reproduce these tracks to the point where these could have easily been the versions you listened to on your iPod earlier today.
The title track of Life Of Pause also makes an appearance, and what an appearance this is. With bursting melodic synths that envelop the room, Life Of Pause is a masterclass in modern synth pop.
Towards the final third of the set, Tatum treats fans to cuts from their lost indie adolescence. Live In Dreams and Gemini still sound as youthful as they did in 2010 and fit perfectly alongside the rest of Tatum’s ever growing discography. Even the band members must have felt like they’d been transported back 7 years, all with massive grins on their faces as they played these carefree tracks. However it’s Summer Holiday that really gets the nostalgia flowing. The song of many teen relationships in 2009, Summer Holiday re-captures the hearts of those in the audience who fell in love to this song.
Ending the night on To Know You, this mixture of krautrock-esque drone synth pop demonstrates how far Tatum has come from his C86 bedroom days. Juxtaposed against the material off of Gemini, To Know You closes off a near perfect night.
Whilst Jack Tatum might not get the same universal recognition of other one man projects such as Kevin Parker’s Tame Impala and Mac DeMarco, this doesn’t tarnish the fact that he’s an unbelievable talent. Achieving what many would struggle with, Wild Nothing are one of the tightest musical outfits you can see live right now.