ALBUM REVIEW: This Wild Life – Petaluma

Release Date: June 22nd 2018
Label: Epitaph Records


Californian duo This Wild Life are back with their most accessible and radio-friendly release to date with their third LP, ‘Petaluma’. Providing infectious melodies and heartfelt lyrics, ‘Petaluma’ is the definition of a fantastic summertime soundtrack.

Opening with ‘Figure It Out’, the acoustic guitars immediately sets the mellow tone of the album and, accompanied by Kevin Jordan‘s stripped back vocals, a chilled atmosphere is set from the beginning. ‘Headfirst’, ‘Positively Negative’, and ‘College Kids’ follow in a similar fashion, bringing to the forefront an almost nostalgic feel.

The songs showcased here provide a flow that inherently gives the album a level of joy and fun, while at the same time offering some somber moments that make you question and think about the dark aspects of the reality of life. ‘Westside’ touches upon the uncomfortable subject of sexual assault, and brings the once taboo subject into the eyeline and attention of the music industry. On the other hand, ‘Catie Rae’ is a dedicated love song to Jordan‘s wife and, though on paper that may sound like a cliche point for discussion, it’s a genuine cut.

Pre-dominantly an acoustic record, This Wild Life still manage to vary the instrumentation, bringing in some more outside aspects to their acoustic nature. There’s an addition of horns and whistling on the likes of ‘Come Back Down’ and ‘Never Believe’, and some tapping on ‘No Need For Novacaine’. It’s great to see that now three records in they’re not too comfortable and are willing to throw some new ideas into the mix.

‘Petaluma’ merges completely from any of their previous work. ‘Clouded’ was extremely acoustic, and ‘Low Tides’ was more focused on the sombre side of lifem but this time around the duo have merged the best from these two offerings and, as a result, injects a fresh of breath air into the project and ultimately it stands as their best record to date.

Proving that music really does serve as an outlet for musicians and fans alike, ‘Petaluma’ contains a raw nature that makes you listen, reflect, and appreciate the vulnerable lyrics and messages presented across the record. ‘Petaluma’ is a record for the summer and proves that, even after six years, This Wild Life are far from being done.