Daily Download: "Emergency," Wilderness

Salon Staff
March 28, 2006 1:01PM (UTC)

Somehow I missed the widely acclaimed (at least in indie circles) self-titled debut of Baltimore, Md., band Wilderness last year, but their follow-up, "Vessel States," arrived in my mailbox a few weeks ago and I'm hooked. The immediately striking thing about the band is obviously vocalist James Johnson: He has been most often compared to Public Image Ltd., but I say the guy sounds like a pirate, a very peevish and constipated pirate much given to irritable and incomprehensible commands. And since I can't make out a single word he's singing, or rather declaiming, I like to imagine that he's just ordering you and me and everyone we know to walk the plank over and over again -- and even that foolishness can't defuse the explosive the power of this music. Part of what makes the band so fascinating to listen to is the contrast between Johnson's ferocious, visceral and brutish delivery, which barely changes from song to song or even phrase to phrase, and the very controlled, cerebral and essentially nonconfrontational music behind it.

-- T.B.

Salon Staff

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