Album Review: North Highlands – Wild One

Take one look to current events and it’s obvious that the dreams of many aren’t exactly being realized. Created and inspired by the growing pains of a recession, North Highlands‘ debut ventures through the bittersweet side of growing up. Wild One is meant to be an album of longing, a desire for moments and events that never seem to come. It’s a dizzying head rush of emotions carefully backed with instrumental layers and airy melodies, all softened by the striking, smoky vocals of lead singer Brenda Malvini.

Malvini’s husky whisper is noticeably similar to the likes of St. Vincent and Twin Sister’s Andrea Estella, but North Highlands’ sound can easily stand on its own. On opener “Bruce”, her drawl is delicately drawn out, cozying up to swells of drums and guitar as she admits, “It feels right to be falling apart.” Continued, pleasurable indie pop abounds with moments of groovy piano and toe tapping guitar sweetened by her dreamy vocals on both “Steady, Steady” and “Salty”.

Wild One is most captivating when North Highlands is brutally honest in its lyrical imagery, made all the more meaningful by the careful building of instruments. “Benefits” begins with distant thumps of percussion that die off in a burst of quick-witted guitar work supporting hazy vocal promises from Malvini. “Best Part” mellows out somber bitterness with strings that glide effortlessly amidst the tip toe of keyboard and lovelorn pleas of, “I’m sure somebodys gonna break your heart and that’s the best part.” “Here’s” is a suited send off of jangly strings and sweeping percussion, as pace setting piano builds to back chants of admittance.

The tribulations associated with growing old are unavoidable and North Highlands embraces them creating an instant connection with the listener through their relatable recounts. Wild One is a deeply personal tale of coming into adulthood from a band that certainly has some promising growth ahead.

Essential Tracks : “Bruce” , “Best Part” and “Here’s”


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